After graduating from Indiana University in 1977 and IU School of Law at Indianapolis in 1980, I worked as a court bailiff to watch trials and practiced law in Florida. I returned to Clay County in 1982 and served for about five years as Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Prosecutor Fritz Modesitt. In those days that was not a full-time position. In addition, I practiced law in Brazil. For about 10 year, my wife, Jan, a former IBM employee, worked as my legal assistant. While in private practice, I served as a public defender. I, also, served as attorney for the Harrison Township Trustee and for the Town of Harmony and the Town of Carbon, assisting them with their storm sewer project and water tower project, respectively. In 1995, Prosecutor David Thomas hired me to prosecute child support and domestic violence cases. In 2003, I was hired as full-time Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, where I served until being appointed Judge in March 2005. All together, I was in private practice in Clay County for over 21 years and have over 14 years of experience with the Prosecutor's Office.
I have maintained an active role in community service. For many years, I have been a member of the Brazil Rotary. I assisted in the formation of and served on the board of Habitat for Humanity of Clay County. I am the past President and current Secretary of the Clay Community Parks Association. For about 12 years, I was Chairman of the Brazil Board of Zoning Appeals and the Brazil Plan Commission. I am a member and past President of the Clay County Bar Association. If you like, you can read more about these activities at my website www.judgepell.com.
My work in the community, my general practice of law and my work in the Prosecutor's Office have given me the all-around experience needed as Judge of the Clay Circuit Court. Since taking office, I have taken on a larger share of the criminal caseload. The idea is that each court should have approximately equal caseloads to maximize efficiency. Circuit Court handles half of the criminal cases, half of the major lawsuits and the entire probate caseload. Probate jurisdiction means that Circuit Court also handles cases involving adoption, establishment of paternity, guardianships, juvenile delinquency cases and the Child in Need of Services cases brought by the Department of Child Services. These areas are particularly challenging since they involve the lives of young people. Most, but not all, have a difficult family situation. The Circuit Court Judge must make the best use of the resources available to try to help the children that need help and guide others to acceptable standards of behavior.
I will continue to bring a balanced viewpoint and common sense approach to the job. I strive to perform my duties impartially and efficiently. I try to treat parties respectfully. I will not hesitate to be tough when it is warranted.
I ask that you entrust me with your vote, so that I may continue as Judge of Clay Circuit Court.