5 appeals judges up for retention

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A third of the Indiana Court of Appeals judges face voter retention this year, including two initially appointed within the past three years to fill vacancies on the state’s second highest court.

With a month and a half before the filing deadline, one of the applicants says that all five appellate judges submitted their retention paperwork on Tuesday to ensure their names will appear on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. The deadline to do that is noon July 15, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s Election Division.

That means that lawyers and voters statewide will have the chance to cast a “yes” or “no” vote in deciding whether to keep those jurists on board to craft opinions, interpret state law, and represent the Hoosier legal world in setting judicial standards.

Those facing retention this year are:

– Judge L. Mark Bailey: a former Decatur County judge who was appointed to the appellate bench in 1998 and retained in 2000. He represents the First District, which includes southern Indiana.

– Judge Elaine B. Brown: served on the Dubois Superior Court for a total 15 years before Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed her to the appellate bench in May 2008. This is her first retention vote after being initially named to the court, and she represents the Fifth District that includes the entire state.

– Judge Cale J. Bradford: served for more than 10 years as a Marion Superior judge before the governor elevated him to the appellate bench on Aug. 1, 2007. He represents the Second District, which includes the central part of the state.

– Judge Melissa S. May: a former 14-year insurance defense and personal injury attorney in Evansville who was appointed to the Court of Appeals in April 1998, then retained in 2000. She represents the Fourth District that includes the entire state.

– Judge Margret G. Robb: who was appointed to the appeals court in July 1998 by then-Gov. Frank O’Bannon, after 20 years of general practice in Lafayette and service as a bankruptcy trustee for the Northern District of Indiana, as well as service as a mediator and deputy public defender. She serves the Fifth District that includes the entire state.

Full biographical information on each judge, as well as links to their appellate decisions and general retention election information, is available on the state judiciary’s website at The new site went online Wednesday and mirrors the one created in 2008 after Senate President Pro Tem David Long urged the judiciary to provide more information about the retention process to voters.

The state’s merit-selection and retention system has been in place since a voter-approved constitutional amendment in 1970; it’s been used to select every current member of the state appellate courts. A seven-member nominating commission interviews potential appellate jurists and ultimately submits three names to the governor, who makes the final appointment. That appointee serves for at least two years and then faces retention in the first statewide general election after that probationary term. If retained, that person faces a retention vote every 10 years unless he or she decides to leave the court or hits the mandatory retirement age of 75.

This is the first time since 2006 that five of the 15 intermediate appellate court judges have faced retention votes. None faced retention last year, and only one in 2008.

Judge Robb told Indiana Lawyer today that they all walked their paperwork over to the state office earlier this week, complying with the process required by Indiana Code § 33-25-2. Co-counsel Leslie Barnes in the state’s election division said if one of the jurists filed for retention but later decided against returning to the court or was not able to serve in that capacity any longer, then the Judicial Nomination Commission process for selecting a new judge would take effect.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues