Digging Deeper Update: Gov. Holcomb expected to name new Huntington Co. judge shortly

A replacement for Huntington County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Hakes, who is leaving the bench before the end of his term, should be named within the next few weeks, a spokesperson for the governor told ABC21 on Friday.

As ABC21 reported in a Digging Deeper report two days ago, the chief probation officer for Huntington County on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Hakes, accusing him of harassment and retaliation when she rebuffed him.

The lawsuit comes three months after an attorney for that same officer sent a tort claim notice — a precursor to the lawsuit — to judge Hakes. The document was dated Sept. 11, about two weeks after Hakes notified the State of his intention to step down from the bench by year’s end.

Hakes has not disclosed the reason he decided to leave his position and has not commented on the lawsuit. By law, Gov. Eric Holcomb will appoint someone to fill the remaining year of Hakes’ term.

Six candidates have submitted their names for consideration — all of them, local attorneys.

They are:

  • Jill Denman
  • Jamie Groves
  • Stefan Poling
  • Davin Smith
  • Brett Vanlandingham
  • Justin Wall

A representative of the governor said Holcomb is proceeding with interviews and is likely to make a decision shortly.

There is only one Circuit Court judge in Huntington County.

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