ELKHART — Of the four county judge seats that are open for elections, one will be contested in the primary elections May 6.
Four candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for judge of Elkhart Superior Court 3: Fay Schwartz, Andrew Hicks, Teresa Cataldo and David Francisco.
Superior Court 3 deals with all child victim cases, with the exception of murder. Half of the controlled substance sale and possession cases, kidnapping and criminal confinement cases are also filed in the court.
The court, located in Goshen, also deals with civil filings that exclude guardianships and small claims.
Here's what you need to know about each candidate:
Schwartz, 65, is an attorney with 23 years of legal experience, who now works out of a private office in Middlebury.
She practices civil law including divorce, custody, support, visitation, estate planning, probate, business law, bankruptcy, contracts, guardianships and adoptions.
She also has criminal law experience. Schwartz worked as a deputy prosecuting attorney in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties for 12 years. For the last six years, Schwartz has worked as a deputy public defender in Elkhart County.
Schwartz was born and raised in Elkhart County. She received her undergraduate degree in business management and administration from Indiana University South Bend and her law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law.
Schwartz and her husband, Dan, raised four children at their family farm, where they've lived over the last 30 years.
She is a board member at Oaklawn and Ryan's Place.
Schwartz ran for judge of Elkhart's Superior Court 5 in 2008.
Hicks, 37, is a partner at the Warrick & Boyn, a law firm in Elkhart.
Hicks is both experienced in criminal and civil law, currently practicing civil law by representing Elkhart County residents, businesses and schools.
Hicks has lived in Elkhart with his wife and four daughters since 2002. He graduated from St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, Ind., with a degree in mathematics and physics and a minor in business. He graduated in 2002 from the University of Notre Dame Law School.
He has also worked with local nonprofit groups on a pro bono basis to assist them in abuse cases.
He has served and supported several Elkhart County nonprofit organizations including Loveway Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County, Concord Dollars for Scholars, Church Community Services, the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce and CAPS.
He has also served as treasurer of the Elkhart City Bar Association and is an Indiana Bar Association delegate for the Elkhart City Bar Association.
This is Hicks' first time running for office.
Teresa Cataldo, 47, runs her own law firm, Cataldo Law Office, and also works as a judge pro tempore, which means she works as a substitute judge in Elkhart County.
Cataldo was born and raised in Elkhart County. She obtained an associates degree from Holy Cross Junior College and a bachelor's degree in political science from St. Mary's College.
She also went to paralegal school at Roosevelt University in Chicago and got her Juris Doctorare at Thomas Cooley Law School in Michigan.
She has worked as a deputy prosecutor in Elkhart County, a Goshen City Court referee and an adjunct instructor at Harrison College.
Cataldo has served as member of the Goshen Bar Association and as volunteer judge for the Teen Court Program held at Bashor Children's Home.
She has also served as vice president of the board of directors for the Center for Community Justice and was a volunteer intake officer at the Elkhart City Adult Probation Department.
She is sometimes found at Bruno's of Antonio's in Elkhart, helping at her brothers' restaurants.
Cataldo ran for judge of Goshen City Court in 2007.
David Francisco, 38, has been working as a deputy prosecutor in Elkhart County since 2005, and in 2007 he was assigned to the Elkhart Circuit Court, where he prosecutes drug delivery and manufacturing, robbery, home invasion, attempted murder and murder cases.
Francisco moved to St. Joseph County after he graduated from the Maurer School of Law in Bloomington in 2005. He recently moved to Elkhart County with his wife, Thao Nguyen, whom he met in law school.
He was born in Massachusetts and grew up in California. He obtained his bachelor's degree from University of California, Los Angeles, with a bachelor's degree in psychology and accounting. He worked at Arthur Andersen for three years before moving to Bloomington.
Francisco has taught trial advocacy and mock trial at the Notre Dame School of Law and John Adams High School. He is a member of the Elkhart Kiwanis Club.
Francisco applied to become a federal magistrate and a judge in St. Joseph County. In St. Joseph County a judge is chosen through a merit selection process instead of an election.