Bergerson seeking 2nd term on Superior 1 bench


Press release submitted

Judge Michael Bergerson has announced that he will seek re-election for a second term as judge of La Porte Superior Court No. 1, as he has filed his official candidacy with the Indiana Supreme Court in Indianapolis.

“This Court serves the entire county, from north to south, and together we have accomplished a great deal and made La Porte County a safer place to live,” Bergerson said. “As judge of Superior 1, I have one of the busiest dockets in the State of Indiana, with 19 criminal and civil trials in the last year alone, an unprecedented number. I have sentenced the xounty’s most dangerous criminals while working to make the legal process more fair and accessible to everyone. This court works, and there is more work to be done. I look forward to speaking with voters about my vision and goals for a second term on the court, which include expanding resources for mental health treatment, pretrial supervision for non-violent offenders, and foreclosure assistance for homeowners.”

Bergerson highlighted a number of accomplishments from his first term that will serve as the foundation for a successful second term. His top priority upon his election in 2014 was clearing the historic backlog of cases awaiting trial, a goal that was accomplished within his first year on the bench.

Bergerson now presides over a streamlined court calendar that affords both plaintiffs and defendants the opportunity to have their cases heard quickly while giving victims and their families the justice that they deserve. “The criminal cases that come to Superior 1 involve the worst of the worst, from murderers and rapists to child predators and drug dealers,” Bergerson said. “These are very serious cases that require difficult decisions to be made every day. With over 30 years as a trial lawyer, both as a deputy prosecutor and defense attorney, I have the experience to make those decisions, and I know how important it is for every victim to be heard, justice to be done, and all citizens to feel safer in their community. Fortunately, numerous violent criminals have been taken off the streets over the last five years, and the Indiana Court of Appeals has consistently affirmed my rulings as correct in the vast majority of cases.”

Bergerson has also focused on making the legal process more fair and accessible to everyone in La Porte County, a priority that will continue in his second term. He has effectively barred the systemic use of peremptory challenges to exclude minority jurors from jury pools, a historically pervasive and discriminatory practice. He has also developed a pilot program for pretrial supervision of non-violent criminals, and he has implemented a successful mortgage foreclosure settlement program to help homeowners navigate the legal process and resolve claims made against them by banks and lenders at no cost to the homeowner.

In addition, Bergerson has been active in statewide efforts to make improvements to the justice system. For example, he was selected twice by the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court to serve on the statewide Jury Reform Committee and recently chosen to implement a pilot program for enhancement of the jury experience. “LaPorte County is well represented at the state level as a result of my involvement in these important issues,” Bergerson said.

Finally, Bergerson has devoted significant attention to addressing the mental health crisis in La Porte County head-on, a high priority for his second term. Recently, he convened and hosted a county-wide mental health summit which identified additional state funding for mental health transfers, saving the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2019 alone. “Mental health is a major factor in many of the criminal cases that come before me, and defendants who are ill often require specialized and unique solutions,” Bergerson said. “That is why one of my top priorities for my second term will be to establish a mental health treatment court, so that the mentally ill in our community can get the treatment they need. This will help reduce the chance that these individuals will find themselves back in court over and over again, due to illness.”

Bergerson concluded his announcement with appreciation for the support he has received across La Porte County. “With broad support from communities across the county, we have transformed Superior 1 into a high-performing court that is tough on crime and protects our families and children, while also providing resources for those who are committed to turning their lives around. It has been a privilege to serve as judge of Superior 1, and I am excited to continue this important and challenging work. I intend to work hard to earn voters’ trust for a second term.”

Bergerson is a lifelong resident of Michigan City. He graduated from Marquette High School, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from John Carroll University, and earned his law degree from Northern Illinois University. Before his election as judge of LaPorte Superior Court No. 1, Bergerson was a trial attorney for over 30 years, handling criminal cases as a deputy prosecutor for La Porte County and civil litigation through his private practice in Michigan City.

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