Superior Court Chief Judge Departing After 30 Years On the Bench

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Allen Superior Court Judge John F. Surbeck, Jr., will retire from the bench effective at the end of 2018.

Judge Surbeck announced his retirement to his fellow Superior Court judges on Tuesday and spent the past few days informing colleagues around the state. He officially communicated his intent to retire to Indiana Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush on Wednesday.

His final day on the bench will be December 31, 2018, concluding a career in law that that will have spanned more than 47 years.

“It has been one of my life’s great privileges to be a part of the judiciary, doing a job I love in a
community I love,” Surbeck said. “Many young lawyers aspire to a judgeship, and I’m one of the lucky few who got the opportunity. There is no more fulfilling work than that of delivering justice fairly and impartially. I’m grateful for the chance to have served.”

Surbeck, who currently serves as Chief Judge of the Superior Court, was appointed to the bench in 1988 and subsequently re-elected five times. During his tenure, Judge Surbeck was responsible for some of Superior Court’s most impactful innovations, from launch of its Re-Entry Court program to the current statewide pilot program developing alternatives to money bail for low-risk arrestees.

For his leadership, Judge Surbeck received the 2012 William Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. The award was presented at the United States Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts.

“Judge Surbeck’s contributions to the Allen County judiciary cannot be overstated,” said Judge Frances C. Gull, Administrative Judge of the Court’s Criminal Division. “He has presided over some of the most difficult and complex cases the Allen County courts have witnessed during his career. He brings a steady hand and a calming voice to circumstances where both can be the difference between order and chaos. Judge Surbeck will be missed long after he has left the Courthouse.”

Judge Surbeck’s replacement will be appointed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb from a group of finalists to be identified by the Allen County Judicial Nominating Commission. The timing of that process will be announced in the future by the Governor’s Office.

That person will complete the remainder of Judge Surbeck’s current term, which ends Dec. 31, 2020.

For a full biography of Judge Surbeck, visit the Allen Superior Court web site.


715 S. Calhoun Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

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