Mitch Peters

Mitch Peters

VALPARAISO — Local attorney Mitch Peters got a jump on the pack Tuesday when he announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination next year for Porter Circuit Court judge.

Peters, who currently serves as a public defender, said among the factors in his decision to run is a desire to further serve the community.

"As a lawyer for the last 35 years, I have become increasingly aware of the needs of people and the issues we face in a complex society," he said. "As criminal lawyer and public defender, I have realized that in excess of 90% of the crime is related to substance abuse, to the point where the system and community is at times overwhelmed."

Because the Circuit Court oversees juvenile court and juvenile drug treatment court, it provides a good opportunity to address these issues early enough in someone's life to make a lasting difference, Peters said.

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Peters said he also has the civil trial experience to handle that side of the court's caseload.

The seat is currently held by Republican Mary Harper.

"If I can achieve even a portion of the good for the community that Judge Harper accomplished during her tenure then I would be blessed to follow her legacy," Peters said.

Peters said graduated from the Valparaiso University School of Law in 1984 and has lived in Porter County since that time as sole practitioner of his law office. He has served on numerous governmental and nonprofit boards and is cofounder of Respite House, a halfway house for treatment of men with substance abuse issues.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.