Thomas P. Boyer has served as a Magistrate for the Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division since January 1, 1999. Prior to becoming a Judicial Officer, Magistrate Boyer was a founding partner in the law firm of Avery Boyer & VanGilder. Magistrate Boyer received his Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law in 1980, and graduated from Wabash College, Cum Laude, in 1977 with a BA in mathematics. Magistrate Boyer completed the Indiana Graduate Program for Judges in 2007 and is currently a member of the Juvenile Benchbook Committee for Judicial Conference of Indiana. Previously,
Jason Custer has served as a Magistrate in the Misdemeanor and Traffic Division of Allen Superior Court since March 2016. Custer came to Superior Court from the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office, where he served as a Deputy Prosecutor since 2005. He also served as a Deputy Prosecutor from 1997-2000. From 2000-2005, Custer served as Senior Associate with the law firm of Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros.
Magistrate Jennifer DeGroote has proudly served the people of Allen County in the Superior Court, Civil Division since her appointment in 1999. She graduated, cum laude, from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1995 after receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.
Magistrate DeGroote has also been active on the board of directors for several professional and community organizations, including the Allen County Bar Association, the Central Branch YMCA, and Fort Wayne Youth Hockey. She previously served on the Special Courts Committee of the the Indiana Judges
Michael T. Douglass has served as Magistrate in the Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division since February 2016. He was appointed Magistrate by Judge Daniel G. Heath. As Magistrate, he serves at the Allen County Juvenile Center deciding juvenile delinquency cases, child support enforcement, contested visitation and custody disputes in paternity cases.
Prior to taking the bench, Magistrate Douglass served as an attorney with the law firm of Leonard, Hammond, Thoma & Terrill. He also served in the Allen County Public Defender’s Office. Prior to his selection as a full-time Magistrate, Magistrate Douglass served as a Judge pro-tem in both Allen Superior and Circuit Courts.
Magistrate Douglass is a 2001 graduate of Indiana University and a 2006 graduate of the Cooley Law School. He was admitted to the Indiana Bar in October 2006.
Magistrate Sherry Hartzler graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Administration in 1999. While at IU Fort Wayne she was inducted into membership with the Pi Alpha Honors Society. She received her Juris Doctorate in 2002 from Valparaiso School of Law where she received course honors in Health Care Law. Following law school she practiced law with Van Gilder and Trzynka, P.C. as an Associate Attorney. She later served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Allen County Office of Family and Children from 2006 to 2010. She returned to Van Gilder and Trzynka, P. C. and practiced law until her appointment to the court. She has served on the Executive Family Law Board Committee of Allen County and is a member of the Indiana Counsel and National Counsel of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Phillip E. Houk is a Magistrate of the Allen Superior Court Civil Division and handles primarily Probate matters. He is a 1983 graduate of Indiana University with a B.A. in Political Science, and a 1986 Graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law.
Magistrate Houk served as a Law clerk in 1986 and 1987 in the Allen Superior Court for the Hon. Robert L. Hines and in the Small Claims Division. In August of 1987 he was hired to serve both the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the Court as a Referee and on January 1, 1988 he was hired as a full time Referee and Probate Commissioner of the Allen Superior Court Civil Division.
Magistrate Keirns attended South Side High School and graduated in 1994. He graduated With Distinction from IPFW in 1998 with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He earned his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2005, where he graduated cum laude.
Magistrate Keirns worked at Allen County Adult Probation from 1998 to 2005. As a probation officer, he wrote presentence investigation reports, supervised both low and high risk offenders, and conducted field visits. In 2005 he was hired by the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney's Office as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney.
Magistrate Morgan was appointed to serve as a Magistrate in the Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division in 1995. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Iowa. Prior to her appointment as a Magistrate, she was in private practice where she primarily practiced family law. While in private practice, she also served as a Guardian Ad Litem for children in Children In Need of Services proceedings before the Allen Superior Court. She is a former member and chair of the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Commission and is a former member of the Indiana Juvenile Benchbook Committee.
Daniel G. Pappas was appointed Magistrate of the Allen Superior Court in November, 2013. Prior to his appointment, Magistrate Pappas was a trial lawyer who primarily practiced in the areas of family, criminal defense, and personal injury law.
While in private practice, Magistrate Pappas served as the Chief Public Defender of DeKalb County, Indiana, since 2001. He also had an extensive practice in the area of Children In Need Of Services law and Juvenile Delinquency law, typically representing parents in Termination of Parental Rights actions, and also serving as the court-appointed guardian ad litem for children. He has previously been employed as the Chief Deputy Prosecutor for DeKalb County, Indiana, as a Deputy Prosecutor for Allen County, Indiana, and as a deputy Public Defender in both Allen County and DeKalb County, Indiana.
David M. Zent, Magistrate in the Criminal Division of the Allen Superior Court assigned to Misdemeanor and Traffic Court having been appointed to his position in May of 2015. Magistrate Zent was an attorney with the law firm of Leonard, Hammond, Thoma & Terrill. He also served as a deputy Allen County Public Defender and as an attorney representing indigent clients in the federal courts. A 1998 graduate of Indiana University and 2002 graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law, Zent was admitted to the Indiana Bar in October 2002.