Criminal Justice

Cappas Moving from Counsel to Bench

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October 4, 2013 — As the man Governor Mike Pence hand-picked to sit as judge in the Lake Superior Court-Criminal Division, lifetime Hoosier Sam Cappas says he loves hard work.

“I consider myself to have a strong work ethic and be a hard worker and I’d like to say I feel I have a pretty good grip on how a case is going to proceed and what’s going to happen with it.”

He’ll use his 27 years of experience practicing law in Lake County, including serving as judge pro tempore, to inform him on the bench.

Though he works in law, Cappas has math on the mind with his new nomination, “If you think of the judicial system as a triangle with the prosecutor being in one corner the defense attorney being in another corner, and the judge being at the top, lets say, I’ve hit all points of the triangle.  So, when I analyze a case, I can analyze it from the prosecutors perspective, of course I can analyze it from the defense attorney’s perspective, and I think I can take a step back and look at it from a judge’s perspective.”

A cheat sheet about Lake County’s latest judge:

  • He earned his law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law.
  • He’s a dad to two twin girls, both six.
  • And he just celebrated his ten year wedding anniversary.

A decorated lawyer, Cappas says his new role replacing Judge Thomas Stefaniak brings fresh challenges, “I think Judge Stefaniak has done a great job on running his courtroom.  What I think one of the personal challenges, I’m going to have is the awareness of, I will be deciding what happens with people’s lives.  I’m going to decide their futures.  My decisions will have impact on the defendants that come before me.  My decisions will have an impact on the victims in the cases represented by the state, so that’s a serious burden, if you will.”

It’s a burden he’s says he’s ready to bear.



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