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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Judge Stephen M. Sims, seated, will be replaced in the Family Division by Judge Dan Heath on April 29.

Bench strength

When Judge Stephen Sims walks out of the Allen County Juvenile Center on April 26, he will close the door on a three-decade career as one of the county’s most powerful, commanding and respected judicial officers.

The following Monday, fellow Allen Superior Court Judge Dan Heath will enter the juvenile center, opening a new door in his own long career, which has included politics as well as the law.

Sims is looking forward to a retirement highlighted by quality time with his grandchildren, while Heath is embracing a new and vastly different judicial assignment.

Here’s a closer look at the two men who were both elected to the bench in 1996.