I've had a couple people ask me who all I'm voting for, so I decided to post the info here. Unlike my post about the school board, these aren't endorsements (or, they are, but I'm not offering them as such since I'm not an expert / authority, and I'm not backing up my recommendations with links to my research) -- it's just info that people who know me may find useful.
I researched candidates I voted for fairly extensively. I didn't vote in some races / on some questions -- mostly because I couldn't find adequate info on them.
I would *love* to talk more about the races / candidates -- so please just comment here or in FB and we can discuss!
Anyways, here it is.
A friend who is an attorney provided this really helpful insight into the process of selecting / appointing and "retaining" judges at the various local levels:
The judge thing is always tough because there isn't ever much info readily available. It's just Hurley and Hostetler that are up for retention locally, and Crone and Riley up for the Court of Appeals, right? None of those will have an opponent because those are appointed and not elected by popular vote (only their retention is something that gets voted on by the general public). To become an IN Court of Appeals Judge, you have to apply and interview with the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission, who gives a list of finalists to the governor, who then makes the final decision based on that list. The process is the same for the St. Joseph County Superior Court judges, only it is a local nominating commission that selects the finalists instead (not all counties use this process in Indiana--FYI). For whatever reason, the judge for the Circuit Court in St. Joseph County (as we see in this election) is an elected position, as is the Probate Court Judge (I think that election is maybe 2 years away? Can't remember for sure--I think that one is a 6 year term). I don't remember why these judicial positions are treated differently, but I bet you could find out from a Google search.
As a local attorney, I can only speak to the reputations I hear and my experiences (if any) I have had in these judges' courtrooms. I have only been in front of Judge Hostetler so far. He handles civil cases and is a very professional, knowledgeable judge in my opinion who is pretty involved in the local community. He also was one of the three finalists this past Spring for our most recent IN Supreme Court vacancy, which I think says a lot. Judge Hurley handles criminal matters and since I do not practice in the criminal arena, I don't have any experience with her. I have heard positive things about her though. I also do not do appellate work, so I wouldn't have dealt with the Court of Appeals judges. However, I had the pleasure of meeting most of the Indiana Court of Appeals judges this year, and found them to be very knowledgeable and professional as well. Terry Crone is actually a South Bend native and a former St. Joseph County Circuit Court judge. He practiced law here prior to that.