After serving as both Hancock District Court Judge and Second Family Court Judge for Daviess County for three years, Judge John McCarty is moving back to Hancock County full-time.
McCarty was temporarily appointed as the second family judge in Daviess County in 2018. The Administrative Bureau of Courts assigned McCarty to the county because Daviess County needed two family judges, according to AOC statistics. He joined Daviess Family Court judge Julie Hawes Gordon to administer the county family records.
The family court covers a wide range of matters including divorce, child abuse and neglect, child custody, visiting and alimony, and some youth issues.
McCarty’s place will be taken by Daviess District Judge David Payne. Payne said he had been in family court three days a week and transferred part of his county court case to Judges Daniel “Nick” Burlew and Misty Miller.
McCarty, who is still doing some family court business, is slated to be completely fired from the position later this month. He said he was confident of leaving the family court judge’s office.
“I feel like things are in good hands with David after I leave,” he said.
McCarty said he transferred some of his Hancock County district court duties to Judge JB Hines when he became the judge on the family court.
“Judge Hines pulled more than his share of the charge,” McCarty said last week. “He didn’t ask for that. It was forced upon him.
“I’m about to retire, so I’ve decided I have to return to District 38 full-time,” said McCarty.
The 38th judicial district includes Hancock County.
McCarty said the district court justices handled many matters that later became the jurisdiction of the family court, so district judges are experienced in family matters.
McCarty, who was elected a district court judge by Hancock County voters prior to being assigned to Daviess County family court, said he felt it was appropriate for Payne to undertake his duties in family court.
“He (Payne) was elected by the Daviess County people and still serves the Daviess County people,” McCarty said.
“I couldn’t imagine serving as a family court judge in the long term,” he said. “It’s a very demanding job.”
McCarty said Daviess County needs two family judges to handle the county’s case burden.
“I noticed a high burnout rate,” he said. “I’ve told Judge Gordon several times that she needs the help. That’s too much for one person. “
“There is no doubt that a second judge is needed,” said McCarty. “Hopefully the legislature will take care of it without us having to cobble anything together.”
McCarty said he would miss being a family court judge.
“I’ve always said that as a judge you have a huge impact on people’s lives, even if you don’t believe it,” he said. “It is a very serious obligation, and it is even more so in the family court. The decisions I have made in family court, if it is a young child, affect that child’s life and life (the life of the family) until that child is an adult. “
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