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5 appeals judges up for retention

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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 courts.IN.gov/retention. 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.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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