About Us

JudgesGroup2
Bartholomew County Judges

 

Article 7 of the Indiana Constitution establishes the judicial powers and states that all judges shall be duly admitted to practice law by the Supreme Court of Indiana.  Indiana had a system based on Justices of the Peace until 1975 when Circuit Courts were established by the legislature. Bartholomew County constitutes the ninth judicial court of the State of Indiana under IC 33-33-3. In addition to the Circuit Court, IC 33-33-2 establishes two (2) Superior Courts and IC 33-33-3-6 establishes the Magistrate position under Superior Court 2.

 

 

 

 

Child Support

Child Support Court


Bartholomew County Child Support (IV-D) Court has jurisdiction over all Title IV-D cases filed by the State of Indiana. Title IV-D cases include mandatory referrals for individuals receiving TANF benefits and/or Medicaid. Anyone can apply for services, however, by completing an application and paying a $25.00 fee through the Prosecutor’s Office. This fee is waived if the custodial parent or child is receiving Medicaid benefits.

Once the State intervenes in a case, it can be assigned to Child Support Court by the appropriate judge (Circuit Court, Superior Court 1 or Superior Court 2). Child Support Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. It only hears cases involving: a) support and its attendant aspects including, back support, arrearage payments, ongoing support, support modifications, medical insurance, uninsured medical expenses, college expenses, tax exemptions; b) parenting time (when agreed upon by the parties); c) emancipation; and d) change of residence relating only to the issue of support.


ChildSupport
The Bartholomew County Child Support Courtroom

Child Support Court Commissioner


Kim Van Valer

Kim Van Valer Bio coming soon.

Circuit

Circuit Court


Currently, the Circuit Court holds jurisdiction for adult felony cases, criminal cases, adoptions, estates, guardianship, civil collection (civil collections in regards to tax collection), mortgage foreclosure, civil torts, civil plenary, paternity action/dissolusion, protective orders, and reciprocal cases.

 

 Circuit

The Bartholomew County Circuit Courtroom

Circuit Court Judge


Kelly BenjaminKelly Benjamin
Education: B.A. - University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point (1989); J.D. - Drake University Law 

School, Des Moines, IA (1991).

Legal Background: Appointed by the Bartholomew County Judges to serve as the IV-D Child Support Commissioner in 2013. Also currently serves as the BCSC attorney. Previously served as a Deputy Prosecutor for 15 years (specialty in Domestic Violence cases), served as the Columbus City 

Attorney, and was in private practice. Certified as an instructor through the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, she has been a national trainer for law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates and first responders on issues related to the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and victim issues.

Community Organizations: Currently on Heritage Fund Board of Directors; Commissioner on the Columbus Human Rights Commission (Secretary and Executive Committee); Healthy Communities Domestic Violence Action Team (DVAT-Chairperson); Asbury United Methodist Church (Trustee). Past: Co-Chair of UnCommon Cause; Lincoln Center Figure Skating Club Board; Columbus Youth Hockey Board.

Law Related Acknowledgements: One of the four “Women in Leadership“ Honoree’s chosen by Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce (2015); Outstanding Prosecutor (from Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence) – 2011; Healthy Communities Volunteer of the Year (DVAT) – 2011; Turning Point Community Safety Award – 2009 and 2010; Family Crisis Center Angel Award (for community activity and involvement in domestic violence issues) – 2003; Wisconsin Supreme Court Faculty Service Acknowledgement – 2001; CAPartners Award (for community work in domestic violence issues) – 2001; Nominated Wisconsin Prosecutor of the Year – 1999 (for prosecution of a shaken baby case occurring 20 years earlier).

 

Juvenile

Juvenile Court


The intent of this court is to hear cases regarding the welfare of juveniles. Legally, juveniles are considered anyone under a predetermined age that, by virtue of their age, is not held responsible for broken laws by standard punishment measure enacted on adults. In Indiana this would mean cases pertaining to anyone under the age of 18.

Currently Bartholomew County Juvenile Court handles cases regarding juvenile paternity, juvenile delinquency, juvenile termination of parental rights, and all cases that fall under the jurisdiction of CHINS(Children In Need of Services), which is an Indiana-based program funded by a federal initiative that is designed the Judaical process and safety for children and families involved in child abuse and neglect proceedings.

 

Juvenile
The Bartholomew County Juvenile Courtroom

Juvenile Court


Heather Mollow

Heather Mollo

Heather M. Mollo has worked in the juvenile court of Bartholomew County since 2000, first as a juvenile referee and then as a juvenile magistrate since October 2009. Mollo is a graduate of Franklin College (77) and Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington (83). Locally, she is chair of the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, is a member of the advisory board for the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center and a board member of District Eleven Legal Aid. She also serves as a member of the Regional Services Council for Region 14.

Mollo also serves on several state judicial committees. She is the chair of the Child Welfare Improvement Committee and is a member of the State CASA advisory board. In addition, she is a member of the Juvenile Benchbook Committee.

 

Small Claims

Small Claims


Small Claims Court deals exclusively with civil suits and occasionally with civil collections from verdicts rendered in such cases at the judge's discretion. Cases brought before Small Claims Court cannot exceed a total value of six thousand dollars in either monetary or other asset based claims. When dealing with civil collection matters, there is no ceiling as to the value of the claim.

 

SmallClaims

The Bartholomew County Small Claims Courtroom

Small Claims Magistrate


Joseph MeekJoe Meek

Magistrate Meek is from Columbus. He graduated from Columbus East High School, the University Of Indianapolis and the Pettit College Of Law at Ohio Northern University. He was appointed Magistrate in 2003 and is the longest serving Magistrate in Bartholomew County history.

Prior to his appointment, Magistrate Meek was a staff attorney with the Blackhoof Area Legal Services Association (1989-1991) in Lima, OH, the Director Of Legal Writing at the Pettit College Of Law at Ohio Northern University (1991-1998) and the managing partner of the law firm of Witte and Meek (1999-2003).

Magistrate Meek is a founding member, and first co-chair, of the local Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. He is on the local Evidence Based Decision Making Policy Team. Magistrate Meek helped develop and implement the video conferencing system used by all the Bartholomew County courts. He drafted, implemented and managed the Bartholomew County Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Plan used by the all the Bartholomew County courts in family law cases. He helped create and deploy a process which allows search warrants to be filed and obtained electronically. Magistrate Meek facilitates the twice monthly Bartholomew County Judge’s meetings. He has served on the Special Courts and Public Relations Committee of the Indiana Judicial Conference.

 

Small Claims Court

Agreed Judgement Order (1671 downloads) Popular #
Application for Title (897 downloads) Popular #
Change of Address (1255 downloads) Popular #
Claim for Damages (2581 downloads) Popular #
Claim for Possession of Property (2441 downloads) Popular #
Counter Claim for Damages (1969 downloads) Popular #
Declaration of Emergency for Tenant (234 downloads) Popular #
Motion for Dismissal (1398 downloads) Popular #
Motion for Proceeding Supplemental (1931 downloads) Popular #
Rule to Show Cause (1262 downloads) Popular #
Small Claims Frequently Asked Questions (5301 downloads) Popular #

Superior I

Superior Court I


Superior Court I is a court of general jurisdiction. Superior Court I hears felony cases for Levels 1 through 6 violations, and some misdemeanor charges in Bartholomew County; additionally, the court hears civil torts aligning with medical malpractice, automobile accidents, and property damage.


Many cases regarding owner or guardianship are also presented in Superior Court I, such as child support, parenting time, divorce, child custody, wills, disputes, and trusts. Well-being cases are also heard, such as cases involving adult protective services and protective orders. Superior Court I also exclusively hears all mental health cases and all civil case collections exceeding the six-thousand-dollar limit of small claims.


Superior Court I also exclusively oversees the Bartholomew County Veteran’s Treatment Court, which is a certified problem-solving court specializing in issues surrounding veterans involved with the criminal justice system who suffer from substance abuse and/or mental health issues related to their service. Learn more at: Justice for Vets Website

 

Sup1

The Bartholomew County Superior I Courtroom

Superior Court I Judge


Jim Worton

James Worton (R)

Educational Background: Graduate, Columbus North High School, Graduate, Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, Bachelor’s Degree, Indiana University, Doctor of Jurisprudence, Indiana University McKinney School of Law, Graduate of the Indiana Graduate Program for Judges, 2016, Graduate of the Indiana Judicial College, 2018.

Background: James “Jim” Worton is a life-long Bartholomew County resident and was elected as Judge of Superior Court I in the 2012 election, taking office January 1, 2013. Prior to being elected, Judge Worton was a managing partner at the Columbus law firm of Worton & Rohde.

In addition to his legal background, Judge Worton served on the Columbus Police Department, retiring after 20 years of service. He served four years as Chief of Police. Judge Worton is also an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at IUPUC, and Ivy Tech Community College, where he teaches various courses in the Criminal Justice programs.

Community Activities: Member, American Judges Association, Member, Indiana Judges Association,  Member and Past Vice-President, Bartholomew County Bar Association, Member, Indiana Bar Association , Bartholomew County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, Member, Sixth Congressional District Veteran’s Advisory Board, Fraternal Order of Police, Past Member of Columbus Rotary Club,  Vice-Chair, Bartholomew County Courthouse Security Committee, Member, State Judicial Administration Committee, Past Member, State Judicial Courthouse Security Committee, Past Member, State Judicial Conference Board of Directors, Member, Bartholomew County Evidence Based Decision Making Team, Past Member, Bartholomew County Domestic Violence Action Team, Past member, Bartholomew County Substance Abuse Council,  Past Member, Indianapolis Bar Association,  Past Member, American Bar Association, Past Member, Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, attends Columbus Free Methodist Church. Judge Worton also serves Hoosiers as a Captain in the JAG Corps for the Indiana Guard Reserve.

 

Awards:

  • 2009: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty: Ivy Tech community College Columbus
  • 2011: Mayor’s Community Service Award
  • 2014: IUPUC Outstanding Alumnus Award

Superior II

Superior Court II


Superior Court 2 handles all of Bartholomew County’s misdemeanor criminal cases, traffic cases, small claims and ordinance violations.  Superior Court 2 also handles a variety of felony criminal cases, including most of the level 6 felonies.  In addition, Superior Court 2 handles all types of civil cases.

The Bartholomew Superior Court 2 is served by Judge Jonathan (Jon) L. Rohde, who appointed David A Nowak to serve as Magistrate.  Judge Rohde supervises the county’s Court Services Drug and Alcohol Program.  Superior Court 2 is assisted by a support staff that has many years of experience, and includes Janet, Sue, Melissa, Sara, Pam Danielle, Julia, Jennifer. 


Sup2
The Bartholomew County Superior II Courtroom

Superior Court II Judge


Jonathan (Jon) L. RohdeRohde Lawyer Courthouse Door picture

 

Message

     When someone comes to court it is likely one of the most important days in their life, where they often enter with uncertainty and angst.  It is the job of a judge to understand the facts of each individual case, apply the law, and to make a fair and impartial decisions.  The assurance to you is that judges take an oath to carry this out faithfully, impartially and diligently.

 

Education

  • Bremen High School Class of 1997

  • Indiana University - Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice 2000

  • Indiana University - Bachelor of Arts in Political Science 2000

  • Indiana Law Enforcement Academy 2000

  • Indiana University McKinney School of Law – Doctor of Jurisprudence 2007 

 

Career

Jonathan “Jon” Rohde was elected as Judge of the Bartholomew County Superior Court 2 in 2020, and assumed office on January 1, 2021.  Prior to being elected, Judge Rohde practiced law for Rohde Law Offices from 2013-2020, and during that time was appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court’s office of court services and three local judges to serve as Bartholomew County’s mortgage facilitator.  Prior to 2013, Judge Rohde was a managing partner at the Columbus law firm of Worton & Rohde from 2008-2012.In addition to his legal background, Jon retired from the Columbus Police Department after 20 years of service, and served six of those years as Chief of Police.  Jon also previously taught various courses as an Adjunct Professor for both Indiana University and Ivy Tech.

 

Community Activities (past & present)

Leadership Bartholomew County Board member; Governor’s Work Ethic Advisory Board member; Indiana Supreme Court Judicial Branch Working Group (commercial sexual exploitation of children); Advisor to the Indiana Supreme Court Family Information Sharing Guide work group; IUPUC Criminal Justice Advisory Board member; Indiana State BAR Association member; Bartholomew County BAR Association member; Veteran’s Court Committee member; St. Peter’s Lutheran Church School Board member; Family Recovery Court Steering Committee member; Adult Drug Court Committee member; Chair of the local Evidence Based Decision Making policy team; Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative member; Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization member; Healthy Communities Council member; Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress advisor; Youth Services Center Advisory Board member; Bartholomew County Community Corrections Advisory Board member; Local Emergency Planning Committee member; Emergency Management Advisory Council member; Substance Abuse Accountability and Advisory Committee member; St. Peter’s Lutheran Church member; March of Dimes volunteer; Childhood Connections Board member; Foundation for Youth volunteer.

 

Awards

  • Columbus Young Professionals 20 Under 40 Award recipient 2013

  • Leadership Bartholomew County 2015 graduate

  • FFY ‘It Takes a Village’ award winner 2018

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From The Indiana Supreme Court...

https://www.in.gov/judiciary/selfservice/2567.htm