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3 get judge, commissioner discipline case

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Disciplinary actions against a Marion County judge and his commissioner have been consolidated into one case and the Indiana Supreme Court has assigned three special judges to the proceedings.

In an order dated June 18, the court consolidated the cases against Judge Grant W. Hawkins and Master Commissioner Nancy Broyles, who've both been on Marion Superior Court's Criminal Division 5 since January 2001.

Delaware Circuit Judge Marianne L. Vorhees has been named presiding master, while Lake Superior Judge Clarence D. Murray and Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker will also hear and take evidence on the charges.

The Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission filed nearly a dozen charges against each on April 9, alleging delay and dereliction of duties relating to the handling of cases.

Mostly, the 11 counts against Judge Hawkins and 10 against Commissioner Broyles deal with their involvement in a post-conviction case that resulted in an Indianapolis man being held in prison for almost two years after DNA evidence cleared him of a 1984 rape.

The charges allege that Judge Hawkins did not adequately supervise his staff and commissioner, committed conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and did not uphold the integrity and public confidence of the judiciary by allowing delays.

Charges are similar against Commissioner Broyles, but reveal that her conduct may have delayed at least seven other post-conviction proceedings between sixth months and 28 months, and some were backdated once they were ultimately decided. The investigation shows that the part-time commissioner routinely issued final orders in post-conviction cases without obtaining Judge Hawkins' approval and signature, contrary to Indiana Codes 33-33-49-16 and 33-23-5-8.

Now, the two cases have been consolidated into No. 49S00-0804-JD-157. The masters are directed to submit a schedule within 30 days of the order and a report is expected during the first week of November.

Indiana Lawyer reported on the disciplinary actions in the April 16-29, 2008, edition, "Judge, commissioner both face charges."

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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