Meet the Magistrates
Magistrate Taylor A. Beaty
Taylor Magistrate Taylor A. Beaty took the bench in July 2020. As Magistrate in the Court’s Small Claims Division, she decides a variety of civil cases, including landlord-tenant issues, protective order requests, contract disputes and other matters.Show more
She began her legal career as a law clerk in the Civil Division of Allen Superior Court for the Honorable Judges David J. Avery and Stanley A. Levine. Prior to taking the bench, she practiced in litigation and estate planning at Beckman Lawson, LLP. In 2019, she received the Allen County Bar Association Outstanding Service Award.
Magistrate Beaty is Chair of the Women’s Section of the Allen County Bar Association and a member of the Benjamin Harrison American Inn of Court. She is also a board member of World Ventures Microcredit, Children First Center, Whitington Home and Services, and St. Joseph Hospital, and is active at her church.
Magistrate John Bohdan
Allen Superior Court Magistrate John C. Bohdan took the bench on Jan. 1, 2019. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Magistrate Bohdan was admitted to the Indiana Bar in October 1989.Show more
Magistrate Brian D. Cook
Magistrate, Allen Superior Court Small Claims Division
Appointed August 2, 1999
- Hears civil claims involving contracts, landlord tenant matters, commercial collections and personal injury. Also presides over the Civil Protection order docket.
- In his 21st year on the bench, Magistrate Cook has conducted approximately 10,000 bench trials.
Spouse: Amy E. Daley-Cook
BS Indiana University 1989
JD Ohio Northern University 1994
Graduate Indiana Judicial College 2009
- Education Committee for the Judicial Conference of Indiana 2019 to present
- Special Courts Committee Judicial Conference of IN 2013-2019
- Small Claims Benchbook Committee Judicial Conference of IN 2014-present
- Allen County Bar Association Board of Directors 2001-2003
- Judicial Clerkship Allen Superior Court – Judge Vern E. Sheldon 1994-1995
Associate Attorney, Blume Connelly Jordan Stucky and Ulmer 1996-1999
- Handled civil litigation including insurance subrogation and commercial collections, family law – dissolution and post dissolution matters.
- Extensive representation as a Guardian Ad Litem in Children in Need of Services cases.
Magistrate Jason C. Custer
Jason Custer has served as a Magistrate in the Misdemeanor and Traffic Division of Allen Superior Court since March 2016. Custer came to Superior Court from the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office, where he served as a Deputy Prosecutor since 2005. He also served as a Deputy Prosecutor from 1997-2000. From 2000-2005, Custer served as Senior Associate with the law firm of Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros.
As a deputy prosecutor, Custer worked to foster continuing education among attorneys and to mentor new lawyers as they joined the prosecutor’s staff. He has also served as a special prosecutor in Dekalb and Elkhart counties and worked in 2014 and has assisted in the review and prosecution of homicides locally.Show more
Magistrate Michael Douglass
Magistrate Michael T. Douglass has served as Magistrate in Allen Superior Court’s Small Claims Division since January 2019. As Magistrate, he hears a variety of civil cases, including landlord-tenant issues, protective order requests, contract disputes and other matters.Show more
Magistrate Douglass is a member of the Protection Order Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana. The Protection Order Committee led the development and enactment of a complete overhaul of Indiana’s Protection Order statutes. The committee prepares updates for Indiana’s Protection Order Deskbook, advises the Indiana Office of Court Services in the development of forms and procedures for this law, cooperates with Trial Court Technology on the development of the protection order registry, and maintains Indiana’s website in this area.
Prior to taking the bench, Douglass served as an attorney with the law firm Eilbacher Fletcher, LLP, as a deputy Allen County Public Defender, and as a deputy with the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Office.
Magistrate Douglass is a 2001 graduate of Indiana University and a 2006 graduate of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He was admitted to the Indiana and Colorado Bars in 2006.
Douglass previously served as Magistrate in the Family Relations Division from 2016 until 2018. During 2018, he gained invaluable experience toward his new role while serving as Judge Pro Tempore in Small Claims Court, handling a broad range of civil matters. He has served as Judge pro-tem in both Allen Superior and Circuit Courts.
Magistrate Douglass is married to this wife, Lesley, and they have two children. He enjoys spending his free time participating in multiple civic organizations, engaged with his children’s sporting events, and being active in the outdoors.
Magistrate Carolyn Foley
Carolyn Foley earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice & Sociology from Indiana University-Bloomington in 1989. Following a clerkship in the DeKalb Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and a clerkship in the law firm of Mefford & Carpenter, she graduated from Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis in 1992 and became a deputy prosecuting attorney for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney of Allen County.Show more
In 2003, she returned to the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office as Chief Counsel of the Civil Division, which required that she supervise the Child Support Division, the Juvenile Division and the Misdemeanor/Traffic Division of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, while handling a caseload and mentoring young deputy prosecuting attorneys. In 2008, she was appointed as a Judicial Referee for the Allen Superior Court, Family Relations Division. In 2013, she served as a Magistrate of the Allen Superior Court, Family Relations Division until February, 2016 when she again returned to the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a deputy prosecuting attorney, overseeing the Circuit Court Division and also prosecuting a variety of felony cases in Allen Superior Court. In April, 2018, she was appointed Magistrate of the Allen Superior Court, Family Relations Division, where she presides over juvenile delinquency and family law matters.
In 2001, Ms Foley testified before Indiana’s Legislative Probation Services Study Committee regarding probation officers’ use of firearms. She is a 2009 recipient of the Justice Award from the Fort Wayne Urban League for outstanding service to the community in the area of Justice for the families and children of Fort Wayne. She is a past member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National District Attorneys Association, the Indiana Child Support Alliance, the Allen County Youth Services Board, the Allen County School Safety Commission, the Mayor’s Commission Against Domestic Violence, Rape and Sexual Harassment, and the Allen County Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee. She is currently a member of the Probation Committee for the Judicial Conference of Indiana, and of the Allen County Bar Association’s Continuing Education Committee. Ms Foley is also a current board member for her church’s Leadership Advisory Board and of the Board of Trustees for her local library.
Ms Foley has been a presenter in many continuing legal education seminars since 1998 for such organizations as the Indiana Child Support Conference, the Indiana Probation Officers Annual Conference, the Annual CHINS Law & Procedures Seminar, the Allen County Sheriff’s Reserves and the Allen County Bar Association, as well as various in-service staff training for child support caseworkers, probation and detention staff.
Magistrate Sherry Hartzler
Sherry A. Hartzler was appointed Magistrate in the Allen Superior Court, Family Relations Division, in April 2015. As Magistrate, she was instrumental in the establishment of Superior Court’s Family Recovery Court and presides over its day-to-day operations. The Family Recovery Court serves parents and others in a child’s life whose substance abuse issues are the most severe and central to the reasons why their families have entered the court system.Show more
Following law school, she practiced law with Van Gilder and Trzynka, P.C. as an Associate Attorney. She later served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Allen County Office of Family and Children from 2006 to 2010. She returned to Van Gilder and Trzynka, P.C. and practiced law until her appointment to the court.
Magistrate Hartzler is a member of the Indiana Counsel and National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) and the Allen County Bar Association. She is also a member of the Indiana Juvenile Benchbook Committee which prepares updates for Indiana’s Juvenile Benchbook and advises the Indiana Office of Court Services in the development of forms and procedures concerning juvenile law.
Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Directors of Healthier Moms and Babies, an organization that breaks down barriers to prenatal care, educates women about preterm labor and warning signs in pregnancy, increases community awareness about SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) prevention, provides information about Medicaid, and combats Allen County’s infant mortality rate.
Magistrate Hartzler has been a presenter in many continuing legal education seminars since her appointment to the bench for such organizations as the Annual CHINS Law & Procedures Seminar and the Allen County Bar Association, as well as various in-service training for Guardian Ad Litems and Court Appointed Special Advocates, Public Defenders and the Department of Child Services.
Magistrate Hartzler also volunteers her time with the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) which is a program that offers help to judges, attorneys, and law students who are experiencing life stressors, mental health or substance use issues, or any other issue which may affect their quality of life or ability to practice law.
Magistrate Phillip E. Houk
Phillip E. Houk is a Magistrate of the Allen Superior Court Civil Division and handles primarily Probate matters. He is a 1983 graduate of Indiana University with a B.A. in Political Science, and a 1986 Graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law.
Magistrate Houk served as a Law clerk in 1986 and 1987 in the Allen Superior Court for the Hon. Robert L. Hines and in the Small Claims Division. In August of 1987 he was hired to serve both the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the Court as a Referee and on January 1, 1988 he was hired as a full time Referee and Probate Commissioner of the Allen Superior Court Civil Division.
Magistrate Houk has served on several committees relating to his expertise in the area of Probate law. Included in this experience have been many years of service on the Probate Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana. He also serves on the Judicial conference’s Ethics committee. Magistrate Houk is a frequent speaker to community groups and at lawyer and judicial education programs on guardianship, estate administration and trust issues. In 2015 he received an Award for Judicial Excellence and Integrity from the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Northeast Indiana.
Magistrate Houk has served on the Finance Committee at St. Charles Borromeo Church since 1998 and has been a volunteer and organizer for many local charity events and organizations. He helped to organize and establish the Lifetime Sports Academy, the Rod Woodson Football Camp and the Eric Wedge Baseball camps, three long running not for profit programs which have benefitted thousands of area youth. He served many years as a board member of the Fort Wayne Sports Corporation and is a past president of that community organization. He also served many years as a Director at the University of St. Francis.
Magistrate Houk has been active as a coach and supporter of youth sports and can be heard frequently on the radio discussing local sports issues, and providing commentary for CYO, High School and University of St. Francis sports. Since 1997 he has been the host of the weekly radio show Fighting Irish Preview.
Magistrate Houk and his wife Lynda are the proud parents of 3 children. Lynda is the Executive Director of the Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Foundation.
UPDATED: January 2020
Magistrate Samuel R. Keirns
Magistrate Keirns attended South Side High School and graduated in 1994. He graduated With Distinction from IPFW in 1998 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. He earned his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2005, where he graduated cum laude.
Magistrate Keirns worked at Allen County Adult Probation from 1998 to 2005. As a probation officer, he wrote presentence investigation reports, supervised both low and high risk offenders, and conducted field visits. In 2005 he was hired by the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney.Show more
Magistrate Lori K. Morgan
Magistrate Morgan was appointed to serve as a Magistrate in the Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division in 1995. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Iowa. Prior to her appointment as a Magistrate, she was in private practice where she primarily practiced family law. While in private practice, she also served as a Guardian Ad Litem for children in Children In Need of Services proceedings before the Allen Superior Court. She is a former member and chair of the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Commission and is a former member of the Indiana Juvenile Benchbook Committee.Show more
Magistrate Daniel G. Pappas
Daniel G. Pappas was appointed Magistrate of the Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division in 2013 by the Honorable Judge Daniel G. Heath. Magistrate Pappas serves the people of Allen County at the Allen County Juvenile Center, resolving juvenile delinquency cases, paternity cases (including child custody and parenting time disputes), and child support cases.Show more
Prior to his appointment, Magistrate Pappas was an Allen County trial lawyer for 27 years, practicing in the areas of family, criminal defense, and personal injury law. Prior to opening his own law office in 1998, he was associated with the firm of Arata & Pappas for six years. During his career, he served as Deputy Prosecutor of Allen County, Chief Deputy Prosecutor of DeKalb County, Chief Public Defender of DeKalb County, and Deputy Public Defender of both Allen and DeKalb counties. He also maintained an extensive practice in the area of Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency law, including Child in Need of Services cases and Termination of Parental Rights cases.
Magistrate Pappas currently serves on the Board of Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) of America, a non-profit therapeutic foster care agency which operates in seven States including Indiana, and on the Board of Great Kids Make Great Communities in Allen County. He previously served on the Board of the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) organization in Allen County. He has been active in both the Allen County and DeKalb County Bar Associations, and has served as Board Chairman of the Arlington Park and Ludwig Park Neighborhood Associations. Magistrate Pappas obtained his law degree from Indiana University-Bloomington in 1986, and his business degree from Indiana University-Bloomington in 1981.