VALPARAISO — Trista Hudson is resigning from the Valparaiso City Council after serving nearly 4 ½ years on the job to pursue a "new professional position," according to a city news release.

"I enjoyed serving the city of Valparaiso and am proud to have provided fair representation to all," said Hudson, who intends to remain in the area following her resignation effective May 31. "Listening to all interested parties on each issue was a high priority for me."

Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas, who is wrapping up his service to the city at the year's end, said, "We’re grateful for Trista’s service to the city of Valparaiso and wish her all the best in new pursuits. She has demonstrated excellent leadership and will be missed."

Hudson, who was not seeking re-election this year, serves on an at-large seat on the council and was first elected by precinct committee people in January 2015 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Deb Butterfield. Hudson then was elected during the general election later that same year to a four-year term beginning in 2016.

A caucus of Republican precinct committee people from all districts of the city will select someone to complete Hudson's term through the year's end, according to the city. Anyone interested in running can pick up an application at the County Administration Building, 155 Indiana Ave., in Valparaiso.

Hudson had served as a Porter County deputy prosecutor until being dismissed from the post in July 2016 for ethical violations the Indiana Supreme Court referred to as among the most serious a prosecutor could commit.

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The court suspended her law license for at least 18 months beginning Oct. 10, 2018. 

The attorney misconduct dates back to 2016 when Hudson, serving as a Porter County deputy prosecutor, failed to reveal during trial that one of two alleged victims in a child molestation case admitted to having made up at least part of the accusations at the urging of his father.

Hudson learned about the fabricated accusations five days before trial, but did not disclose the finding to the defense nor withdraw the charge stemming from the accusation, according to the Indiana Supreme Court's opinion.

Hudson avoided asking questions about the allegations with the alleged victim during trial, and they were not discovered until questioning of the 12-year-old boy by defense attorney Larry Rogers.

Then-Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa acquitted the accused Portage man on all four counts and ordered him immediately released from jail on his own recognizance while awaiting disposition of a final molestation count involving a third child.

Hudson attempted to cast her violation as merely a "formal" one in that the charge in question was "technically" left in the case but not pursued by the prosecution. But the state Supreme Court disagreed, pointing out that the charge was left in jury instructions and that Hudson told jurors at the start of the trial that she would ask for a guilty verdict on all counts.

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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.