A Highland-based lawyer has been named judge in Criminal Division of Lake Superior Court.

Cappas “has the legal skills and background necessary to serve the people of Lake County well,” said Gov. Mike Pence in a press release.

Cappas currently runs his own firm, where his focus has been criminal defense.

Prior to opening his practice, Cappas was a partner at the law firm of Cappas & Jones. With nearly 20 years of experience as a public defender in the Lake County Superior Court system, Cappas served as permanent judge Pro Tempore in Lake County Superior Court from 1992 to 1993.

He also worked for nearly five years as deputy prosecuting attorney in the Lake County Prosecutor’s office. Cappas earned his undergraduate degree from Indiana University and his law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law.

Cappas was appointed tdo fill a vacancy created by the transfer of Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. to the juvenile division after Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura was named director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.

The Lake County Judicial Nominating Commission, chaired by Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert Rucker, interviewed 11 attorney candidates and named three individuals for consideration by Pence in August. In addition to Cappas, they were Timothy Ormes, a criminal defense attorney and former deputy prosecutor, and Lake Superior Court-County Division Magistrate Michael Pagano.