Press Release about Candidacy

for Immediate Release 
January 10, 2018

Chris Gaal Files for Judge in 2018

Bloomington, Monroe County - Chris Gaal filed his candidacy for Monroe Circuit Court Judge Seat II Division II, a position currently held by Judge Marc Kellams who will retire at the end of the year. 

Gaal has dedicated his career to public service as a Democratic local elected official - first on the Bloomington City Council and then for three terms as Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney.  He is running for Judge to continue his progressive commitment to community-based justice.  

As a member of the Board of Judges, Gaal will support problem-solving courts that partner with community resources such as the Drug Court and Mental Health Court.  

“I believe problem-solving courts are often able to more effectively address underlying issues such as treatment for addictions and mental health,” Gaal says.

“I pledge to listen, treat people with respect, and do my best to ensure that our local legal system provides fair and equal justice for everyone,” says Gaal.

Gaal has practiced law in the local community for twenty years - approximately half that time as prosecutor and half in private practice.

In private practice, Gaal focused primarily on criminal defense, but also handled civil cases, including family law matters such as divorce, child custody and visitation, as well as personal injury, and immigration law.  

“I have not only conducted jury trials in murder cases, but also defended private clients and court-appointed public defender cases and so I understand that difficult challenge, the importance of our constitutional rights, and the need to ensure a fair legal system,” said Gaal. 

“I have advocated for the public interest and seen our legal system from many different sides,” Gaal said.  “And I believe that balance and diversity of experience is important for someone to effectively serve our community as judge.” 

Gaal was first elected to the Bloomington City Council District 6 in 1999, and then ran for City Council At-Large in 2003 following Dr. Tony Pizzo’s retirement.  Dr. Pizzo later became Gaal’s campaign chair when he ran for prosecutor in 2006.  

As prosecutor Gaal focused on prevention, building valuable community partnerships, and developing new resources to better address public safety issues. Among his accomplishments are the creation of a Sexual Assault Response Team, and working with others to develop a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, a pediatric version of that program, and opening the doors of Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Center.  In addition, he worked to develop a pharmaceutical safe disposal program, promote dropout prevention efforts, create a new mental health court, develop a volunteer guardianship program to assist incapacitated adults unable to care for themselves, and was a leader to improve Adult Protective Services in the state of Indiana.

Gaal has been recognized with several awards for his efforts.  These include a 2016 award from the Community Justice and Mediation Center (CJAM) for contributions to justice that heal and restore the Monroe County Community, the 2010 Outstanding Legal Professional Award from the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the 2009 Visionary Leaders Award from the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.  Gaal also received an award for Outstanding Leadership as Chair of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (IPAC) in 2013.

Gaal’s campaign is chaired by local attorney Betsy Greene, while Beth Hamlin serves as Treasurer. The Campaign Committee also includes many well-known local leaders who express their support on the campaign website at