2014-05-08 / Front Page

Hanlon Poised To Become First Judge Of Owen Circuit Court 2

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

Surrounded by family and friends, Kelsey Hanlon (standing, left) was all smiles as the primary election results were announced Tuesday night at Owen County Republican Party Headquarters. (Staff Photo) Surrounded by family and friends, Kelsey Hanlon (standing, left) was all smiles as the primary election results were announced Tuesday night at Owen County Republican Party Headquarters. (Staff Photo) In the absence of a Democratic Party candidate, Kelsey Hanlon appears poised to become the first judge to preside over Owen County’s new Circuit Court 2 when it begins hearing cases in 2015.

Hanlon’s vote total of 1,256 nearly doubled that of fellow Republican hopeful Terry English, who garnered 653 votes in Tuesday’s primary election. Hanlon was victorious in 17 of Owen County’s 18 precincts and 12 of the 13 townships, falling short in Jennings Township by a vote count of 32 to 26.

“I was very happy and a little bit surprised. Obviously it’s not a sure thing until the time frame for the Democrats to caucus someone closes, but it would be tough for them to find someone just for the strategic disadvantage of starting so late in the game,” Hanlon said. “It’s the nature of the job that you can’t please everybody all the time, but I hope we’re doing a good job. I know everybody (working in the circuit court) works really hard and wants to do a good job. I just really appreciate the support that the campaign received, it was really overwhelming and I’m just very happy with the result.”

While the Owen County Democrats have until the end of June to find a worthy candidate for caucus, all signs indicate Hanlon will moving from her current post as circuit court referee to the judicial seat in 2015.

“The referee has limited jurisdiction, so I work at the pleasure of Judge (Lori Thatcher Quillen) and I hear a variety of cases and she signs off on my orders, so I work under her supervision,” Hanlon explained. “I hear small claims cases and I act as child support commissioner, what I don’t do all the time are the child custody, the CHINS (Child in Need of Services) hearings and mortgage foreclosures. I do them as judge pro tempore, but they aren’t part of the day-to-day functions of the court and my role in that. Now what will happen (once the new court begins) is there will be a case load allocation plan and I’ll handle certain types of cases, start to finish, not in a referee’s capacity but as the judicial officer who handles it.”

Hanlon will now be tasked with assisting Judge Thatcher Quillen, as well as the Owen County Board of Commissioners and Owen County Council in the establishment of a second court.

“There are a lot of decisions to be made just in terms of location and by virtue of that, who’s going to go where. Some offices may have to be moved and so I think there will be some growing pains associated with that,” Hanlon said. “But I think everybody is really moving toward the same goal of having everything ready and up and going by January 1st. I’m heartened by that and while I’m not sure how things are going to go as far as being shuffled around, I think everybody is willing to make sacrifices to get everything going by 2015.”

Meanwhile, English thanked his supporters and looked forward to the future.

“I have a sign in my office which quotes legendary football great ‘Iron Mike’ Ditka. It reads: ‘Success isn’t permanent and failure isn’t fatal.’ I thank all the residents of Owen County who cast votes for my unsuccessful candidacy for Judge of the Owen Circuit Court 2,” English told the Spencer Evening World on Wednesday morning. “I do wish Kelsey Hanlon every success when she ascends to the bench and I look forward to my continued role as advocate in her court and in that of Owen Circuit Judge Lori Thatcher Quillen in the future.”

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