Judge who helped launch multiple initiatives to help local juveniles and families seeks fifth term
Howard Circuit Court Judge Lynn Murray filed last week to run for a fifth term as judge of the county’s highest court. The long-serving judge, who over the years helped implement multiple programs aimed at helping children and families within the community, said she’s motivated to continue her work because, despite local progress, more remains to be done.
“I’ve had people ask me, ‘Why am I doing this? Why are you running again?’ I think there’s still a lot of work to do,” said Murray. “There will always be people in the community having problems with substance abuse. We have increased violence and issues with neglected children. These are problems we have to continue on that I feel a great need, both with a willingness and an ability, that we can help solve and make better.”
Within her role as judge of Circuit Court, Murray is the administrator of the county’s juvenile justice system, which encompasses the Kinsey Youth Center and the juvenile probation department. This duty separates Circuit Court from the county’s five other courts, making the Murray responsible for about 90 more employees than just her court staff.
During Murray’s time on the bench, Circuit Court has implemented a number of innovative programs. Notably, her court started one of the first juvenile problem-solving courts in the country, if not the first, in 2003. That program continues to operate to this day. She also helped launch the Operation to Reduce Recidivism program about a decade ago, where juveniles adjudicated for delinquent behavior receive services from their homes. As part of the program, officers also check on the juveniles during hours they normally would be prone to troublesome behavior.
In addition, Murray played a role in launching the county’s uniform truancy program. That program aims to better deal with issues of student truancy in local schools and can serve as a vital way for the courts to provide services to youth and families that are dealing with any myriad of issues, which can be signaled by school truancy. That program began last year and is primarily handled by the local juvenile court, which is operated out of Howard Circuit Court.
In 2019 Murray launched the Family Recovery Problem Solving Court, which better serves parents struggling with drug addiction. The program already has resulted in the identification of more school truancy cases than were had in years past.
She has served as the president of the Indiana Council for Juvenile and Family Law Judges. From 2009 to 2015 she served as a member and chair of the state’s Supreme Court Domestic Relations Committee, which revised the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines and Indiana Child Support Guidelines to improve the resolution of legal issues affecting children of divorced and separated parents. In 2017 she was appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court to the State Judicial Criminal Policy Committee, and she continues to serve in that role.
“It is an honor to serve the residents of Howard County as their Circuit Court judge,” said Murray. “There remains many challenges for the Howard County judiciary requiring a Circuit Court judge experienced in making difficult decisions efficiently. As judge, I will continue to strive to serve the best interests of children while protecting the community and preserving the rights of all persons to be heard and treated fairly in court proceedings.”
Murray attended Purdue University for undergrad and obtained her juris doctorate from Rutgers University in 1981. She was admitted into the Indiana Bar that same year.
Prior to serving as judge of Howard Circuit Court, she practiced law for 13 years both in private practice and with the UAW Legal Services Plan’s Kokomo office.
- Devin Zimmerman: Kokomo Perspective