Porter County Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper has received a statewide award
that honors leadership in addressing unmet legal needs of children.
The Indiana State Bar Association has selected Harper as this year’s
recipient of the Honorable Viola J. Taliaferro Award. Taliaferro, the Monroe
County Circuit Court Judge, is recognized nationally as an advocate for
children, and the award named in honor is given annually to a person who best
exemplifies her efforts on behalf of youth.
Harper was recognized for her service on the Mayor’s Commission Against
Domestic Violence, the Porter County Early Intervention Planning Team, and
the Porter County Community Corrections Advisory Board, all of which she
chairs. She also serves on the Porter County Safe School Commission and the
Porter County Juvenile Summit.
Under Harper, Porter County was named one of Indiana’s original three pilot
site counties for a new Family Court. Harper also helped developed Porter
County’s truancy diversion program known as Project ATTEND, affordable
mediation services for low-income families, and a community service access
center to link families to court-ordered services immediately following a
juvenile court proceeding.
The State Bar Association also noted Harper’s role in obtaining funding for
Porter County to implement juvenile mental health diversion programming and
for securing Porter County’s participation in the Indiana State Juvenile
Mental Health Screening, Assessment and Treatment Pilot Project, of which she
serves as advisory board chair.
She also serves on the board of the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family
Court Judges. This year, Gov. Daniels appointed her to the board of the
Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. She has been recently named to chair the
Youth Division Committee of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
Among her many awards, Harper has been honored with the Aled P. Davies Award
for Public Policy on Health and the Marilyn J. Niequist Memorial Award for
Outstanding Contributions to Youth. She has also been recognized as Judge of
the Year by the Indiana Correctional Association and has received the Robert
J. Kinsey Award for her work in judicial service for youth.
Taliaferro, of Bloomington, Ind., has served as a juvenile justice advisor to
former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and as a member of the National
Research Council on Juvenile Crime. She has also been named Judge of the Year
by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association.