WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - There are now four people running for Tippecanoe Superior Court 4 judge. Jonathan Dean formally announced his candidacy as a Republican Monday night at the West Lafayette Public Library.
Dean is the third Republican to run for the position, and he's also going up against one Democratic candidate.
He explained Monday night how he already has a lot of experience around the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. He has worked as a prosecuting deputy in Tippecanoe County for almost 15 years, five of those years were in Superior Court 4. He also has trial experience in Superior Courts 1, 2, 5 and Circuit Courts.
He's had some international experience, too. From 2008 to 2011 Dean was employed as an English-language and legal English instructor by the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, China, and later by the Zhong Shan University in Guangzhou, China. He said at his candidacy announcement event that it was eye opening to be in a country where he was the cultural minority.
Right now, he is serving as a public defender for the county, which he said has brought him fresh perspective on the justice system, especially when it comes to mental health.
"I've been working getting people into Wabash Valley Alliance and looking for alternatives, so I would like to continue along that vein," he said.
His goal is to find balance between holding people accountable for their actions, while also giving them pathways to better themselves.
"You can't simply put somebody on probation, you can't simply put someone in prison and expect them to change," he said. "Sometimes I think you have to have a longer horizon on helping people."
One way he hopes to do this is by capitalizing on Tippecanoe County's good job market for people who want to change.
Superior 4 handles landlord-tenant cases, small claims cases, misdemeanor and D felony drug cases drug cases and the Therapeutic Drug Court. Current Judge Laura Zeman is retiring from her role.