Six attorneys vying to replace Hakes as judge when he steps down Dec. 31

Six attorneys are vying to be named judge of the Huntington Circuit Court when longtime Judge Tom Hakes steps down from the bench later this year.

Jill M. Denman, Jamie Groves, Stefan J. Poling, Davin G. Smith, Brett Vanlandingham and Justin R. Wall have submitted applications to Gov. Eric Holcomb to be considered for the judgeship.

Hakes submitted his letter of resignation to Holcomb in August, setting his last day as Dec. 31.

Hakes has served as judge in the Huntington Circuit Court since June of 2006, when he was appointed as full-time judge pro tem.

He took over for Judge Mark McIntosh, who had fallen ill several months earlier. McIntosh had already announced plans to retire when his term expired at the end of 2006.

Hakes was the only judicial candidate in the 2006 Republican primary and was unopposed in that fall’s general election. He won a second six-year term in 2012, again running without opposition.

Hakes’ current term will not expire until the end of 2018. Holcomb’s appointment as Huntington Circuit judge will serve until that time.

The office of circuit court judge will be on the ballot in 2018, with the winner set to take office on Jan. 1, 2019.

Applicants for the interim appointment are required to be a resident of the circuit and admitted to practice law in Indiana. Applicants had until Oct.
16 to submit their names to the governor’s office.

Denman is a partner in the law firm of Matheny, Hahn and Denman, Huntington. She earned her law degree in 1996 from the Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington.

Groves is chief deputy prosecutor with the Huntington County Prosecutor’s Office. He earned his law degree in 1997 from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Poling is a partner in the law firm of Rollo Harting and Poling, Huntington. He is a 1997 graduate of the Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington.

Smith is a partner in the law firm of Bowers Brewer Garrett and Wiley, Huntington. He graduated from the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis in 2003.

Vanlandingham is a Wabash resident. No additional information was available.

Wall operates Wall Legal Services, Huntington. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law, in Ohio.