Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317/232-1622

For Immediate Release: May 22, 2006
Daniels appoints Lake Superior Court Judge

INDIANAPOLIS (May 22, 2006) ? Governor Mitch Daniels announced today the appointment of Elizabeth Tavitas to fill the vacancy in Lake Superior Court Civil Division Room III. She succeeds Judge James Danikolas who died in December 2005.

Tavitas, 44, of Munster, has served as referee in the Lake County Superior Juvenile Division since 1998 where she has presided over cases involving paternity, custody, parenting time, child support, protective orders, guardianships, adoptions and termination of parental rights. Prior to that, she served as a juvenile public defender and deputy prosecutor in Lake County. She has also worked in private practice with a focus on family and criminal law.

?The nominating commission in Lake County sent me three terrific candidates, all of whom could and would serve well,? Daniels said. ?Beth Tavitas was especially outstanding. She has spent the bulk of her career with children?s issues paramount. Her character and sense of higher purpose provide a judicial temperament that will only grow over time. I?m confident she will be a great judge.?

Tavitas was appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court?s Juvenile Benchbook Committee by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard in 2001 and reappointed in 2004. She has assisted in co-authoring several publications, including the 2002 edition of the Delinquency Benchbook, 2004 edition of the Termination of Parental Rights Benchbook and 2005 edition of the Child in Need of Service Benchbook. She also teaches art and music appreciation as a volunteer at Frank H. Hammond Elementary School.

?I?m humbled by the governor?s confidence in me and look forward to serving the families of Lake County,? said Tavitas.

Tavitas earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Notre Dame. She was among three people nominated for the position by the Lake County Judicial Nominating Commission. The names were submitted to the governor on March 24.

The appointment is effective immediately.