La PORTE – Judge Richard R. Stalbrink Jr. has announced he is running for re-election, seeking his third term as judge of La Porte County Superior Court 2.
Superior Court 2 handles general civil and plenary cases, divorces, protective orders, paternity cases and all criminal cases that occur within the prisons in La Porte County.
Since taking office in January 2009, Stalbrink has presided over many jury trials and bench trials, each year involving both civil and criminal matters, he said. Over the last decade, he has heard hundreds of cases involving everything from murder to divorce to complex civil issues.
In addition to his regular case load, Stalbrink was appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court to serve on the Domestic Relations Committee and currently serves as a co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee.
The Domestic Relations Committee meets monthly, and regularly reviews and revises Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines and Indiana Child Support Guidelines. The Strategic Plan Committee’s purpose is to improve Indiana’s justice system by assisting with the resolution of disputes under the rule of law, while protecting individual rights and liberties in a fair, impartial, equally accessible, prompt, professional and efficient manner, Stalbrink said.
Since 2015, Stalbrink has also presided over La Porte County’s Re-Entry Court, a problem-solving court and two-year program designed to work with offenders who have been released from long-term prison sentences to re-acclimate them and assist their re-entry into society while holding them accountable, the judge said.
"The goal of re-entry court is to help offenders become productive citizens who are less likely to re-offend or end up back in the criminal justice system," according to Stalbrink. To date, more than 83 people have successfully completed the program.
While serving as judge, Stalbrink has furthered his judicial and legal education by graduating from the Indiana Judicial College and completing the graduate program for judges through the Indiana Judicial Center.
A 1986 graduate of LaCrosse High School, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University in 1990, and a Juris Doctorate from Valparaiso University in 1993.
Stalbrink, born and raised in La Porte County, formerly served as a deputy prosecutor and maintained a private law practice in Michigan City. He was appointed a juvenile court magistrate in La Porte Circuit Court in 2007, and has served as Superior Court 2 judge since being elected in 2008.
In addition to his professional career, Stalbrink is involved in numerous community activities. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of La Porte County; is a past president of the La Porte County Chapter of the American Red Cross; and a past president of the board of directors of the La Porte County Fair Association.
He has spent many years volunteering with La Porte County 4-H, including as past president of the 4-H Horse and Pony Committee, and former senior leader of the La Porte County 4-H Horse and Pony Club.
Currently finishing his 14th year on the bench, Stalbrink said, “I love what I do every day as a judge and I would be honored for the opportunity to continue serving the citizens of La Porte County as judge of La Porte Superior Court 2.”