Tuesday, May 24, 2011

05242011 - News Article - Porter County magistrate stepping down - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation

Porter County magistrate stepping down
Post Tribune

May 24, 2011
Updated: August 4, 2011

VALPARAISO — Magistrate James Johnson tendered his resignation on Tuesday after serving 22 years on the bench.

The resignation follows a week where the 64-year-old Johnson was gone for an undisclosed illness. His last day is scheduled for Aug. 1.

"I’m not longer able to perform my duties," Johnson wrote in a resignation letter to Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.

Johnson has a history of heart problems that have led to a caseload backup, necessitating the county judges to assign a probate commissioner to catch them up.

He recently had medical procedures done in January.

Bradford said that there is a backload of cases but "nowhere near what it was before."

Johnson wasn’t available for comment.

The six Porter County judges are responsible for selecting a replacement for Johnson, and they’ll announce a procedure for that after their June 14 meeting.

Johnson will no longer take on new cases as of the end of this week so that he can finish his current caseload by August.

Bradford said if the magistrate finishes one a day, he’ll be done with his caseload before August.

A magistrate usually handles divorce, family law and estate cases.

In July 2010, Johnson had about 97 cases backlogged.

Johnson is a 1974 graduate of the Valparaiso University School of Law and has been a deputy public defender and a deputy prosecuting attorney.

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