Chesterton Tribune



Judge David Chidester to run for reelection

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Judge David Chidester is announcing his bid to seek re-election as Judge of the Porter Superior Court 4.

Since taking the bench on Jan. 1, 2003, Chidester has heard misdemeanor, felony, and traffic cases, along with small claims and protection orders.

Chidester--who will soon be the longest serving judge in the Valparaiso courthouse and second longest serving judge in Porter County--currently operates the Porter County Restoration Court, which is one of eight mental health courts in Indiana. The Restoration Court uses a team approach with representatives from the Public Defender’s office, Prosecutor’s Office, Porter Starke Services, Porter County Adult Probation Department, the Sheriff’s Department, and PACT to hold weekly court hearings with participants, holding them highly accountable for mental health and addiction case management treatment.

“I have decided to stay on the bench another six years, if the voters will have me, to ensure continuity between judge and Restoration Court participants,” Chidester said. “When mental health court participants see an approachable, consistent, and optimistic judge over time, all the studies show that re-offense rates decrease dramatically. My goal for the upcoming years is to properly assist and train the new judges, increase the census of the Restoration Court, graduate those successful in the program and then fade into the sunset after the expiration of my term.”

During his time on the bench, Chidester has served on the Indiana Judicial Center Protection Order Committee and has participated in the drafting of forms used by Indiana Judges in protection order cases. He has chaired Porter County’s Community Correction Advisory Board since 2017, served on the Indiana Judicial Center Probation Committee, Board of Managers, Board of Directors and has taken the lead in drafting the Porter County Local Rules and served as chair of the Protection Order E-filing Committee, and has participated as a pilot court in Indiana’s risk assessment pretrial release program.

Statistics gathered by the Indiana Division of Court Services show that Chidester’s Court maintains one of the highest and fastest disposition rates among Indiana Courts, with a 90-percent rate of finalization in less than one year of the 162,000 cases filed in his Court since 2003.

Since 2003, Chidester has operated his court within budget and has not sought an increase of the budgeted funds for each fiscal year. The Restoration Court has run entirely on Department of Correction grants and public donations and has not sought any new moneys from the Porter County Council.

In 2005, Judge Chidester was awarded a Professional Certificate of Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada at Reno, home of the National Judicial College. He is the only Porter County Judge to hold such a certificate.

With the departure of two senior Porter County judges in 2020, losing more than 75 years of judicial experience, Chidester will be called upon to mentor two brand new Porter County judges and two relatively new judges elected in 2016 and just beginning their judicial career. In seeking to become the most senior judge in the Porter County courthouse, Chidester believes it imperative to teach Porter County’s new judges the business of judging and their role in the community, while working with probation and community corrections and the Clerk of Court.



Posted 11/14/2019




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