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Gary, EC try to stop relocation of child support court

Updated: February 4, 2013 8:55PM



The cities of East Chicago and Gary are suing two Lake County judges over moving the court that handles child support cases from Gary to Crown Point.

The cities are asking Lake County Judge George Paras to issue a temporary restraining order against Juvenile Court Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura and Lake Superior Court Chief Judge John Pera from moving the so-called IV-D court from its original home at the county courthouse in Gary.

The suit, filed Friday, claims that when the county built a new juvenile justice center in Crown Point a decade ago, all of the Lake County Superior Court judges and the Lake County Council reached an agreement with the city of Gary to keep the IV-D court in Gary.

Pera is now trying to break that agreement without the support of all county’s Superior Court judges, according to the lawsuit.

It also names two other plaintiffs, Carlton Mahone, of Gary, and Jamie Cobb, of Hammond, who are going through the IV-D court now. Neither has a car or access to reliable transportation and would not be able to get to Crown Point for hearings, the suit claims.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland said in affidavits that many of their constituents are in similar situations and would be hurt if the court moves.

Judge Pera has said that the decision to move the IV-D court is up to the judge who oversees it, which in this case is Judge Bonaventura. Neither Pera nor Bonaventura could be reached for comment.

A hearing on the request for a restraining order is set for Friday morning.



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