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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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