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3 remain in running for Indiana Supreme Court

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Two trial judges and an appellate attorney have emerged as finalists for the Indiana Supreme Court, but one those three almost didn’t make it to Indianapolis for the second interview on Friday.

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After nearly five hours of interviews and nearly two hours of deliberation, the seven-member Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission on Friday selected Boone Circuit Judge Steven David, Marion Superior Judge Robyn Moberly, and Indianapolis attorney Karl Mulvaney as finalists for the high court opening.

But Judge David almost didn’t make it to Indianapolis that day.

“I thought I’d be stuck on the side of the road when I was supposed to be sitting there in front of the commission,” Judge David told Indiana Lawyer today, laughing about his car trouble late last week that almost interfered with the appellate interview.

Getting behind the wheel that morning, the judge said he discovered a squirrel had eaten through some of the wiring and he ended up driving on four out of eight engine cylinders and with no air conditioning.

“A squirrel attempted to sabotage my bid,” he said. “Of all the worst possible days for car problems, it happens then. I barely made it down there, and barely made it back.”

He was the first interview, starting at 8:45 a.m. The remaining eight semi-finalists appeared for their 30-minute interviews throughout the day, before the commission members met privately at 3 p.m. to deliberate. After two hours of discussion, the members publicly announced their decision about 5 p.m.

Judge David got the news as he was standing in the auto repair shop, listening to the mechanic explain what had happened and what it would cost. He stepped away from the counter to take the news about his being chosen as a finalist for the state’s highest court.

“I’m simply honored and humbled, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was excited,” the judge said. “You have to be impressed with the process and the openness of it all.”

The other two finalists echoed those thoughts, with Mulvaney and Judge Moberly also expressing their excitement about the process overall and being selected as finalists. Judge Moberly talked about feeling very comfortable during her second interview, though it went by very quickly because of the “fun mix of commission members who are warm and engaging people.”

"I can't imagine ever being better," Judge Moberly said after receiving the news on Friday. “I'm thrilled and humbled to be one of the three finalists being sent to the governor.”

Now, it’s up to Gov. Mitch Daniels to decide who’ll be the next Indiana Supreme Court justice. Whoever is chosen will be the Republican governor’s first appointment to the state’s highest court, the first new justice since 1999, and he or she will succeed Justice Theodore R. Boehm once he retires from the bench Sept. 30.

Aside from the three finalists, those who made it past the first round of cuts were: Indianapolis attorney Ellen Boshkoff with Baker & Daniels; Indiana University associate general counsel Kipley Drew; Johnson Superior Judge Cynthia Emkes; Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher; Hamilton Superior Judge Steven Nation; and State Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford.

Each person began their interview with a congratulatory welcome from Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, who chairs the commission. He then asked each semi-finalist to address a two-part question sent out by the commission: "What do you consider your finest professional accomplishment or contribution?" and "Name two things that need improving in the Indiana court system that a justice might help solve."

All raised points about what they might tackle if they were a member of the court, and then responded to other questions posed by commission members – their views on approaching issues of first impression, how they might complement the current court makeup, what the judiciary’s three most pressing issues are, and how justices should factor in political, economic, and social ramifications in decision making.

A full rundown of the interviews by all nine semi-finalists can be found at Indiana Lawyer’s blog, First Impressions.

The governor’s general counsel, David Pippen, said the 60-day clock begins ticking once Daniels receives an official evaluation report on the three finalists from the nominating commission; that’s expected this week. Interviews will likely be scheduled “pretty quickly,” and there’s really no set procedure for how that interview process will happen. Whether one interview will take place or finalists will be invited back for a second informal interview hasn’t been determined, but it will be up to the governor to decide. Pippen said he doesn’t expect the governor will come close to running the 60-day deadline, but if Daniels doesn’t meet that deadline, the chief justice would make an appointment from the same list.
 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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