Court dedicated in honor of judge

Written by Mike Siroky. Posted in Featured

Published on March 13, 2012 with No Comments

Hobart’s city court has a new home and a new name.

The Anthony Cefali courtroom has joined the police department, city jail, the police training facility and the senior center in Hobart’s new municipal facility, located in the former Hobart middle school building.

The Honorable William J. Longer is the current city judge.

“It is a dramatic improvement,” Longer said of the new courtroom facilities. Cases heard in the courtroom are primarily misdemeanors and jurisdictional infractions.

“Basically all criminal cases where the maximum penalty does not exceed one year,” said Longer.

More than five years ago, the city began planning this upgrade. Having the court in the same building as law enforcement is just one plus, according to Longer.

“It’s part of an ongoing improvement to city services.  It’s based upon the needs assessment of the city,” he said.  “We considered attempted modifications to the existing city hall and the overall needs. As a result, in the process of doing something with the middle school building, we came up with this project.

“It is more than the facilities. We spent less (and) we ended up with more,” he said.

Longer said the construction of a new high school started the process of the middle school refurbishing. Eventually, that presented the city with the opportunity to honor Anthony Cefali. As the first city court judge, Cefali served Hobart for 28 years.

The Hobart City Council made the naming official with a unanimous proclamation, which in part, read: 

 “The people of Hobart, by and through their elected representatives, have constructed a new City Courthouse the new City Court, the new courtroom of which provides spacious, attractive accommodations for the Court and the people it serves, equipped with advanced technological features that facilitates the presentation of trials and hearings that contributes greatly to the court’s efficiency, the Common Council of the City of Hobart, being mindful of all of Judge Cefali’s service to his city and desiring to accord his memory and name all the honor to which it is due, do therefore honor Judge Cefali in this way.”    

Cefali’s own life story serves as an inspiration.  Orphaned at age 8, he was raised by an older sister.  During World War II, Cefali was in the Pacific Theater.

One of Cefali’s personal accomplishments came at the close of the war when he was a witness to history. He was assigned to the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and served as the Japanese interpreter at the War Crimes Tribunal in occupied Japan.

“Judge Anthony Cefali was a kind man who was possessed of an exceptional legal mind, a judicious temperament and a commitment to help people who may have fallen down in life,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky. 

As a practicing attorney, Visclosky had contact with Cefali in the city courts.  Years later, it was Visclosky who helped get the renovation grants for the city that would bring the Cefali courtroom to the new municipal center

“It’s right that his life and spirit of service will continue in the new Honorable Anthony J. Cefali Courtroom,” said Visclosky.


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About Mike Siroky

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the above excellent column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Mike Siroky is a writer and editor. He is a native of Northwest Indiana. He has worked in media from coast to coast. To contact Mike, email mikel@the

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