Pictured (L to R) during Tuesday night’s Judicial Candidates Forum at Center Lake Pavilion are Superior Court 1Judge candidates David Cates, Stephen Harris and Chad Miner and Superior Court 2 Judge candidates Mark Caruso, Tyler Haines and Torrey Bauer. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
Pictured (L to R) during Tuesday night’s Judicial Candidates Forum at Center Lake Pavilion are Superior Court 1Judge candidates David Cates, Stephen Harris and Chad Miner and Superior Court 2 Judge candidates Mark Caruso, Tyler Haines and Torrey Bauer. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
Kosciusko County Bar Association and Warsaw-Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Judicial Candidate Forum Tuesday night at Center Lake Pavilion for Superior Court 1 and 2 candidates.
The primary is May 6.
Superior 1 deals with juvenile cases and Superior 2 deals with traffic violations, misdemeanors and infractions.
Rex Reed, former Circuit Court judge, served as moderator and Dan Hampton, Jack Birch and R.J. Hall asked questions to candidates.
Superior 1 candidates David Cates, Stephen Harris and Chad Miner answered questions as well as superior 2 candidates Torrey Bauer, Mark Caruso and Tyler Haines.
Candidates were asked about strengths and experiences that qualify them for a judicial position.
Haines said his demeanor is his greatest strength.
“I will be fair and listen to both sides and won’t be rushed into judgement,” Haines said.
Bauer said having trial court experience in criminal and civil law is important. He said he brings 23 years of legal practice in criminal and civil cases.
Cates said trial and courtroom experience is critical to making a good judge.
“Life experience is important, and letting people know I will treat them with respect and make fair and informed decisions within the law and Constitution is important,” Cates said. He said he has overseen hundreds of cases involving family law.
Harris said he takes pride in doing his work in a timely manner.
“It’s important for judges to have a broad knowledge of the law and I think I have prepared myself for these responsibilities by the breadth and diversity of my practice,” he said.
Miner said he has integrity and treats people with dignity and respect.
“I feel strongly about making the right decisions to help make the community a better place, and I think my dedication, commitment and work ethic is important,” Miner said.
Caruso said he has been a clerk for the criminal court judge system.
“I worked in that court for years and know how the court operates and what works and doesn’t,” Caruso said.
Candidates were also asked about the types of cases they have handled.
Bauer said he has handled both misdemeanor and felony criminal cases and was a public defender for Superior Court 2.
“About 80 percent of the work I do is child court related,” Bauer said.
Cates said his practice is varied and he has overseen domestic relations, divorces, separations, custody matters, property settlement agreements, real estate transactions and formations of non-profits.
Harris has dealt in 26 years with guardianships, adoptions, commercial and residential real estate transactions and business formations.
Miner has handled civil litigation cases representing defendants and plaintiffs, estate planning and estate administration.
Caruso has done living wills and in the last three years has overseen 50 trials.
Haines has done bankruptcy work and said he has overseen 1,000 cases, and served on three jury trials in his lifetime.
Candidates were asked why they want to be a judge.
Cates said he is running against honorable people and wants to give back.
“I would like the opportunity to serve as Kosciusko County Superior Court 1 judge. I believe it’s an opportunity to give back,” Cates said.
Harris said he wants to serve the community.
“I’m a life-long resident invested in this community that has been a part of my whole life, and I have prepared myself for this position in my 26 years of experience,” Harris said.
Miner said he is a life-long resident with a family history in the law office where he works.
“If elected I believe I would do a good job for you,” Miner said.
Caruso said he moved to Kosciusko County in 1998 and would love to serve the community.
Haines said he worked for the GOP for  25 years as a precinct committeeman and fish fry chair and would like to continue to serve.
“In the years I’ve wanted to be judge I’ve watched other judges and made notes of their good qualities,” Haines said. “I want to be a fair and firm judge and make sure everyone who comes in the courtroom feels they got a fair shake.”
Bauer said his decision out of law school was to go into trial court.
“I spent 23 years as a trial court attorney. I’ve prepared myself to deal with conflicts people bring in front of me,” Bauer said. “I think the experience I bring as a trial court attorney into a trial court is what’s important.”