A Ball State University graduate will become the first judge of Hispanic heritage to serve the Southern District of Indiana.

Mario Garcia was selected for the position of Magistrate Judge on the U.S. District Court for Indiana’s Southern District, a new judgeship created by the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Jane E. Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, said in a release that Garcia “is the ideal Magistrate Judge candidate, with a breadth of experience in both criminal and civil litigation.”

“Mario Garcia has long served our Court, and my colleagues and I know his work product well,” Magnus-Stinson said. “He has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the ideal of equal justice under law and has served his clients and the Court with integrity, a tireless work ethic, and compassion. The entire Court family is most excited to welcome him.”

Garcia was one of 31 applicants and five interviewed candidates for the position. His appointment is effective no earlier than April 1, 2021, upon completion of required background investigations.

United States Magistrate Judges are appointed for an eight-year term 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.

Garcia, a Bloomington, Ind., native, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and criminology from Ball State in 1995.

“Mario Garcia has turned his education at Ball State into a fulfilling legal career, oftentimes representing and advising those with nowhere else to turn,” said Michael Brown, the Criminal Justice and Criminology department chair at Ball State. “We congratulate Mario on his selection to serve as a Magistrate Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, and are proud to call him a Ball State alumnus.”

Garcia is partner and Managing Member at the law firm of Brattain Minnix Garcia in Indianapolis. A registered civil mediator, Garcia has appeared in more than 500 hearings in Indiana’s federal and state courts over the last five years. He is licensed to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Garcia also represents indigent clients as a member of the Southern District’s Criminal Justice Act panel, and for 10 years has provided pro bono services 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. Garcia also serves on the Southern District Court’s Local Rules Advisory Committee and on the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Practitioner’s Advisory Group.

Among Garcia’s numerous community endeavors: he has volunteered for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter; he has 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.); and he has also served as Chairman of the Board for the Indiana Federal Community Defenders, Inc.