The Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, announced that Mario Garcia was sworn in today as United States Magistrate Judge. Judge Garcia fills a new magistrate judgeship created by the Judicial Conference of the United States. He is the first judge of Hispanic heritage to serve the Southern District of Indiana.
Chief Judge Pratt remarked, "The court welcomes Judge Garcia with open arms. While in private practice, Judge Garcia treated every client with great dignity and respect, and we know that he will bring those same qualities to the bench. His diligence and passion for upholding the law and ensuring access to justice will serve him well as he embarks on his judicial career. We are thrilled to have him as a member of the court family."
Judge Garcia said, “I am honored and excited to assume the role of magistrate judge and join an esteemed group of colleagues on the federal bench. For over 21 years I have worked hard to build a resume of experience across a wide range of practice areas, in judicial forums large and small. I look forward to working hard to advance cases in our busy court, dispensing justice fairly and efficiently, and welcoming all parties and counsel who will appear before me.”
Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Judge Garcia is a 1995 graduate of Ball State University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and criminology. He studied law at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, where he graduated in 1999. While in law school, Judge Garcia was awarded the Cale J. Holder Scholarship and F. Emerson Boyd Scholarship. He was also a member of the Order of the Barristers and the Hispanic Law Society.
Upon graduation from law school, Judge Garcia joined the law firm that became Brattain Minnix Garcia. He became a partner in the firm in 2008 and rose to the position of Managing Member. Judge Garcia trained as a registered civil mediator and has extensive courtroom experience in both civil and criminal law, appearing in more than 500 hearings in Indiana's federal and state courts in the last five years. He was also selected by the Indiana Federal Community Defender’s Office to lead the response to pro se compassionate release filings under the First Step Act.
Judge Garcia was a member of the Southern District of Indiana's Criminal Justice Act panel and provided pro bono services for 10 years to participants in the District Court's Re-Entry and Community Help (REACH) Program, which helps individuals re-entering society after incarceration obtain access to housing, employment, and public assistance programs. He will continue to serve the REACH Program as a judicial officer on an as-needed basis. He will also remain on the Southern District of Indiana's Local Rules Advisory Committee.
Judge Garcia volunteers throughout the community, including for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter. He served as a Trustee and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees for The Orchard School and Member of the Board of Directors for La Plaza, Inc. (formerly The Hispanic Center, Inc., where he served as Board Chairman). He also served as Chairman of the Board for the Indiana Federal Community Defenders, Inc.
United States Magistrate Judges are appointed by the judges of the U.S. District Court for a term of eight years and are eligible for reappointment to successive terms. Magistrate Judges preside over many pretrial proceedings in both civil and criminal cases in federal court. A critical component of the position is conducting mediation and settlement proceedings in civil cases, helping parties settle their disputes by agreement.