Meet the Judges

Honorable David J. Avery

Honorable David J. Avery

David Avery was appointed Judge in the Allen Superior Court – Civil Division in 2000. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he practiced law in Fort Wayne for 23 years and had extensive experience as a mediator.

Judge Avery is a member of the Indiana Judicial Conference and the Indiana Judges Association.

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He is currently serving, or has served on the following committees: Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee, Judicial Administration Committee, Civil Jury Instruction Committee, Civil Benchbook Committee. He also serves as the judicial liaison to the Indiana Commission for Continuing Legal Education. Judge Avery is a member of the Allen County Bar Association, Indiana Bar Association and the Benjamin Harrison Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

Judge Avery serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations: Volunteer Lawyer Program of Northeastern Indiana, Allen County Bar Foundation, The Carriage House, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana and Lutheran Senior Care Ministry. Judge Avery is a graduate of the Valparaiso University School of Law.

Updated: April 2019

Honorable Craig J. Bobay

Honorable Craig J. Bobay

Administrative Judge

JUDGE CRAIG J. BOBAY is the Administrative Judge of the Allen Superior Court Civil Division, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Appointed to the Civil Division in June of 2013, as the result of a merit-based selection and screening process, he was re-elected to his position in the 2014 and 2020 general elections. Previously, he was Magistrate in the Allen Circuit from 2003, to 2013. His prior service on the bench also includes serving in the Allen Superior Court Magistrate from 1997 to 2002.

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Earlier, he was in private practice at a Fort Wayne litigation firm for 5 years, and was a law clerk for Judge William C. Lee in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana. Judge Bobay obtained his J.D. degree, cum laude, from the Indiana University Mauer School of Law (Bloomington), and his undergrad degree from Indiana University, Fort Wayne.

Judge Bobay is chair of the Indiana Commercial Committee, appointed by Chief Justice Loretta Rush in 2013 to establish Commercial Courts in Indiana. He is one of ten Commercial Court Judges in Indiana. He has served the Judicial Conference of Indiana on several committees, including its Board of Governors. He is currently serving on the Civil Jury Instructions Committee. He previously served on the Judicial Administration Committee, Problem Solving Courts Committee, Domestic Relations Committee, Jury Rules Committee, and Magistrate Committee. Judge Bobay chaired a committee of judicial officers who rewrote the Appointed Judicial Officers Deskbook for Indiana Judges and Magistrates. He has served as a member of the Indiana Judges Association Board of Managers, the Allen County Bar Association Board of Directors, Volunteer Lawyers Program of Northeast Indiana Board of Directors, and as an officer of the local American Inns of Court.

He has been married to his wife Nancy for over 40 years, and they have three adult children. He is an active member of his church, and worked on multiple church missions to help rebuild housing for victims of natural disasters. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Lincoln Collection, had been president of the St. Thomas More Society of Fort Wayne, was a member of the Board of Directors of ACRES Land Trust, is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Fort Wayne Running Club, and taught in the Department of Public Policy at Purdue University at Fort Wayne for ten years. He was twice named the outstanding Public Policy part time faculty member.

Judge Bobay writes extensively and instructs frequently on various topics in the law. His work has been published in state and local bar journals and he has regularly taught continuing legal education courses for Indiana Judges and attorneys. Bobay’s favorite aspects of his job include encouraging litigants to cooperatively seek agreed resolutions of their disputes, encouraging civility among lawyers, and giving tours of the historic Allen County Courthouse.

UPDATED: February 2021

Honorable Jennifer L. DeGroote

Honorable Jennifer L. DeGroote

Judge Jennifer DeGroote has proudly served the people of Allen County in the Superior Court, Civil Division as a judicial officer since 1999. She graduated, cum laude, from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1995 after receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. Judge DeGroote has also been active on the board of directors for several professional and community organizations, including the Allen County Bar Association, the Central Branch YMCA, and Fort Wayne Youth Hockey.

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She previously served on the Special Courts Committee of the Indiana Judges Association and presently serves on the Protective Order Committee of the IJA and the Indiana Commission for Continuing Legal Education. As a presenter at continuing legal education seminars, Judge DeGroote has made significant contributions to the legal education of members of the bar and she has served as a guest speaker for many local agencies and associations to address topics pertaining to court procedures. She has also been involved in judicial and court reform efforts at the local and state levels to improve the experience of litigants who appear in court.
Honorable Steven O. Godfrey

Honorable Steven O. Godfrey

Judge Steven O. Godfrey has served as Judge of the Allen Superior Court Criminal Division since January 1, 2021. He was appointed to the bench by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

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Judge Godfrey graduated from Ball State University in 1987 with a degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Political Science. He graduated from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1990. Following graduation from law school, Godfrey started a clerkship with the Allen Superior Court under Judge John F. Surbeck, Jr., and Judge Philip R. Thieme.

Upon completion of his clerkship, Godfrey was hired by the Lake County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. He began as a deputy in the Misdemeanor Division, an assignment which lasted for several months. Godfrey was then promoted to the Drug Crime Prosecution Unit. As a member of the Drug Unit he assisted in preparation of search warrants with local law enforcement and provided legal advice during execution of those warrants. Godfrey tried several possession and dealing cases. Eventually Godfrey was promoted to trying sexual assaults, violent crimes, and homicide cases.

In August of 1999, Judge Godfrey was hired by the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Godfrey started out trying cases in the ABC Felony Division. On November 24, 1999, Godfrey was promoted to Chief Counsel of the Criminal Division.

On May 15, 2018, Godfrey was selected as a Magistrate with the Allen Circuit Court. As Magistrate, Godfrey presided over criminal, civil, family, and IVD cases. Additionally, Godfrey also ran three problem solving courts. Those courts being Veterans Court, Restoration Court, and OVWI Court. The OVWI Court is the first in the State of Indiana.

Honorable Frances C. Gull

Honorable Frances C. Gull

Administrative Judge

Judge Frances C. Gull has served as a Judge in the Allen Superior Court since January 1, 1997. She was first elected Judge in 1996 and has been re-elected four times.

For more than 20 years, Judge Gull has served as Administrative Judge of Superior Court’s Criminal Division, overseeing the day-to-day operations of six criminal courts, including the misdemeanor and traffic and felony courts.
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During nearly 25 years on the bench, Judge Gull has gained statewide and national renown as an innovator in areas including jury management, restorative justice and the use of technology in the courts. She has been honored many times for her contributions to the criminal justice system, including with the 2015 G. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovation, presented by the National Center for State Courts.

Since 2002, Judge Gull has supervised Allen County’s nationally renowned Drug Court program. The program, which promotes recovery from addiction and restoration of families torn apart by substance abuse. In 2020, the program was approaching 1,000 graduates, making it among the most successful and impactful in the country.

Judge Gull received a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Joseph’s College in 1980. She received a juris doctor from the Valparaiso University School of Law in 1983. After receiving her law degree, Judge Gull began her legal career in Allen Superior Court, serving as a law clerk in the Family and Criminal divisions during 1983 and 1984.

Prior to becoming Judge, from 1987 until 1996, Gull served in the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office. She rose to the position of Chief Deputy Prosecutor, a role in which she served from 1990 until her election to the Superior Court bench. In the Prosecutor’s Office, she also served as Chief Counsel, Criminal Division; Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Sex Crimes Unit; and Section Chief, Felony Division.

During her judicial career, Judge Gull served in both Allen Circuit and Superior Courts. During 1988 and 1989, she served a Magistrate in Circuit Court’s Civil Division. Between 1984 and 1987, she also held roles as Probate Commissioner and Traffic Court Referee in Superior Court.

In the Prosecutor’s Office, Judge Gull prosecuted hundreds of offenders. In the Sex Crimes Unit, she was responsible for cases of sexual assault against women and children. Later, as Section Chief in major felonies, her trial schedule expanded to include robbery, burglary, arson, battery and other serious felony offenses. As Chief Counsel and then as Chief Deputy, she was responsible for the prosecution of all homicides, high profile felony cases, arson investigations, and cases involving political figures.

Her service to the community has earned Judge Gull many recognitions. In 1995, she was the recipient of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Law Enforcement Oscar Award for Outstanding Achievement and Service. In 1996, she received a Special Award from the Fraternal Order of Police for outstanding service to the Allen County Law Agencies. In 1997, she was recognized by the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence for outstanding contribution to S.T.O.P. Grant Judges and Prosecutors Training. She was recognized in 2002 by the Indiana District Ten Little League Baseball as a Hometown Hero. She was one of the recipients of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette’s Citizen of the Year Award in 2002. In 2003, she received a Community Service Award from the Fort Wayne Fire Department for contributions to their Diversity Training. In 2015, the National Center for State Courts presented Judge Gull with the G. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovation, recognizing her work to make jury management more effective and more representative.

Since 1989, she has provided training and lectures on search and seizure, general criminal law, juvenile law, domestic violence, arson investigation, and issues relating to prosecution and the criminal justice system, including Indiana’s Jury Rules, trial advocacy and courtroom testimony. Judge Gull has also been a guest speaker/lecturer for many community and business organizations, as well as schools at all educational levels.

Judge Gull is a member of SCAN’s Campaign for Children, the Allen County Community Corrections Executive Board, the Indiana Judicial Center’s Strategic Planning Committee and the Indiana Judges Association. She serves as church Delegate to Concordia Lutheran High School on behalf of her church, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church. Since 2016, she has served as a volunteer Guardian and member of the Volunteer Corps, Honor Flight of Northeast Indiana.

(Updated February 2021)

Honorable Charles F. Pratt

Honorable Charles F. Pratt

Charles F. Pratt was elected Judge in 1998. Prior to his election Judge Pratt served the court as a judicial referee in the Small Claims Division (1983-1985) and as a juvenile court magistrate (1985-1998). Judge Pratt graduated with distinction from Indiana University – Purdue University, Fort Wayne in 1976 and received his Juris Doctorate degree cum laude from Indiana University School of Law in 1979. He is a member of the Indiana Judges Association and is on the Board of Directors for the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. He holds membership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges as well.

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Judge Pratt serves on the Indiana Judicial Center’s Juvenile Justice Improvement Committee and has served as its chair. He is co-chair of the Cross-systems Youth Task Force for the Indiana Commission on Improving the Status of Children. He is part of the state-wide implementation team for House Enrolled Act 1196 that addresses the legal procedures for dual status youth. He is a former member of the Center’s Juvenile Judges’ Benchbook Committee. He served locally on the Concordia Lutheran High School Education Association Board. He is a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne.

In 1990 Judge Pratt founded the Annual Conference on Youth to provide training on positive youth development and strength based practices for child and family professionals in northeastern Indiana. In 1999, Judge Pratt established Allen County’s positive youth development initiative, Great KIDS make Great COMMUNITIES. Developed around the principles and research of the Search Institute and the 40 Developmental Assets that kids need to succeed, Great KIDS provides on-going training and research on a variety of issues related to children and families. Great KIDS and the Annual Conference on Youth are principally funded through private grants, including grants from the Foelliinger Foundation.

Judge Pratt has initiated multiple court practice reforms in child abuse and neglect cases. Through thesupport of the Indiana Supreme Court’s Court Improvement Program, Judge Pratt’s reforms have included Facilitation (mediation) process, Family Group Decision Making practices, and a Mental Health Specialty Track. Judge Pratt recently completed a pilot study of Court Performance Outcomes for the state. Several measurements identified in the project are being replicated by juvenile courts across the state.

Judge Pratt has presented on his court reforms at the American Humane Association national conferences, Search Institute conferences, and the National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. He has provided training at the Pennsylvania Child Summit, the Pennsylvania Permanency Barriers Conference, the Kansas Health Foundation Leadership Conference, an Ohio Judicial College in 2006, a Bridges and Circle Community Building Conference, and court reform training in Windsor, Canada. He has presented at the Indiana Child Summit, multiple Indiana Judicial Center Conferences, and an Indiana State CASA Conference. In addition to presentations at local jurisdictions across the state, Judge Pratt has conducted over 350 positive youth development presentations to local groups, churches, and organizations. He has taught juvenile law courses for Indiana-Purdue University-Fort Wayne and Trine University.

Judge Pratt has been recognized as Indiana’s Outstanding Juvenile Court Judge in 2002 and as the Indiana Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Outstanding Judge in 2009. He was presented with the Congressional Johnny Appleseed Award in 1999. For his work in Pennsylvania he was given a Pennsylvania Collaboration Award. In recent years he has been honored by the Center for Non Violence and Park Center, Inc. In 2009 he was given the Indiana Lieutenant Governor’s Partners in Progress Award. That same year he was honored by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Indiana Holiday Commission and the Indiana Civil Rights Commission with the Passing the Torch Award. In 2012 he was recognized with Fort Wayne Urban League’s Lions Award, Fort Wayne Allen County NAACP Branch 3049’s Judicial Award, and the Johnny Appleseed Division of Kiwanis International’s Spirit of John Chapman Award. In 2015 he was presented with the Janus Award by the McMillan Center for Health Education.

Honorable Andrea R. Trevino

Honorable Andrea R. Trevino

Chief Judge and Family Division Administrative Judge

Judge Andrea R. Trevino was appointed Judge of the Allen Superior Court by Governor Eric Holcomb. She assumed the bench on March 21, 2018. Judge Trevino hears family and juvenile matters and oversees the Allen County Juvenile Center, a secure detention facility for juveniles.

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Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge Trevino was Magistrate in the Allen Circuit Court, having been appointed to the position in 2013 by Judge Thomas J. Felts. She presided primarily over the Allen Circuit Court IV-D Division, but also heard criminal, civil, and family relations matters. In November of 2013, Judge Trevino started a collaboration between the Allen Circuit Court and WorkOne of Northeast Indiana to provide employment, education, and vocational rehabilitation services to child support obligors.

Judge Trevino grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she graduated from South Side High School. She is a 1999 graduate of Saint Joseph’s College, and in 2003, she received her J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law (now the Maurer School of Law).

Prior to becoming a Magistrate, Judge Trevino practiced law for approximately 10 years. During that time, her practice was primarily concentrated in the areas of family law, civil litigation, and appellate work. Judge Trevino has experience arguing cases in various trial courts around the State, and was chosen to present oral arguments to both the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court. She also served as Guardian Ad Litem for children involved in custody or parenting time disputes.

Before joining the judiciary, Judge Trevino regularly volunteered for Legal Line, a program sponsored by the Allen County Bar Association that provides free legal advice to callers in need. She also dedicated time to local youths, serving as a soccer coach for the Fort Wayne Sport Club, and as a cheerleading and soccer coach for students at South Side High School and Canterbury Middle School. Judge Trevino is a past President and Board Member of the South Side Alumni Association, and also served on the South Side Foundation, where she dedicated her efforts to granting scholarships to deserving students. In 2014, The Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly named her to its “Top Forty Under 40,” an honor bestowed upon individuals younger than 40 who are making a difference in northeast Indiana both on the job and in the community.

Judge Trevino currently serves as a member of the Indiana Supreme Court’s Juvenile Justice Improvement Committee. She previously served on the Board of the Indiana Chapter of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts. In 2016, the Supreme Court appointed Judge Trevino to its Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. Judge Trevino regularly serves as a lecturer on topics in the area of domestic relations and juvenile delinquency. She was chosen to participate in the National Judicial College’s Faculty Development Program, aimed at training presenters/lecturers for statewide and/or national judicial conferences.

Locally, Judge Trevino is a member of the Fort Wayne United Steering Committee and the Board of Directors of the Allen County Bar Foundation, Inc. She previously served as a member of the Allen County Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee.

Updated: April 2019

Honorable Andrew S. Williams

Honorable Andrew S. Williams

Judge Andrew S. Williams has served as Judge of the Allen Superior Court Civil Division since August 2020. He was appointed to the bench by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

Judge Williams received his Juris Doctor from the Baylor University School of Law in 2001 after graduating cum laude from Ball State University in 1995.
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While at Baylor, he served as a senior editor of the Baylor University Law Review. He is currently admitted to practice before the Indiana Bar, the U.S. District Court Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana and the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Judge Williams has also briefed and argued cases before the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court.

Prior to being appointed to the Allen Superior Court bench, Judge Williams was a partner with the firm of Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros, LLP, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He practiced in the areas of general insurance litigation, civil rights defense and state and federal appeals.

Judge Williams has served as Judge Pro Tem in Superior Court on several occasions and given of his time as a Civil Commitment Hearing volunteer since 2005.

Judge Williams is actively involved in the community as well as the legal profession. He was President of the Allen County Bar Association in 2018 and 2019, after previously serving as Board Secretary. He is a current member and Master of the Benjamin Harrison Inns of Court. Judge William is also Vice-Chair of the Parkview YMCA Board of Directors and a past chair of its Fundraising Committee. Judge Williams and his family are members of Grace Point Church.

A lifelong Hoosier, Judge Williams has lived in Fort Wayne since 2002. He has been married to his wife Kim since 2000. They have three sons.

August 2020

Honorable David M. Zent

Honorable David M. Zent

Judge David M. Zent was previously the Magistrate in the Criminal Division of the Allen Superior Court assigned to Misdemeanor and Traffic Court having been appointed to his position in May of 2015. Judge Zent was an attorney with the law firm of Leonard, Hammond, Thoma & Terrill. He also served as a deputy Allen County Public Defender and as an attorney representing indigent clients in the federal courts. 

 

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A 1998 graduate of Indiana University and 2002 graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law, Zent was admitted to the Indiana Bar in October 2002.

715 S. Calhoun Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

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