ILNews

5 Court of Appeals judges up for retention

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

Voters statewide will have the chance Nov. 2 to cast a “yes” or “no” vote in deciding whether to keep some of those jurists on the bench for 10 more years to craft opinions, interpret state law, and represent the Hoosier legal world in setting judicial standards. Those facing retention this year are:
 

Mark Bailey Bailey

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 comprises southern Indiana.


Elaine Brown Brown

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


Cale Bradford Bradford

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


Melissa May May

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 and then retained in 2000. She represents the Fourth District that encompasses the entire state.


Margaret Robb Robb

Judge Margret G. Robb, who was appointed to the appeals court in July 1998 after 20 years of general practice in Lafayette and service as a bankruptcy trustee for the Northern District of Indiana. Judge Robb also has served as a mediator and deputy public defender. She represents the Fifth District that includes the entire state and was last retained in 2000.

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 did so in 2008.

With Indiana requiring appellate judges to step down from active service at age 75, none of those facing retention this year would hit that mandatory retirement age and could serve at least one more term if they chose.

All point to their experience and judicial service on the bench as reasons they each should be allowed to remain on the appellate court. Together, they emphasize that more access, transparency, and efficiency through technology are key to making sure the judiciary can continue working effectively in the coming years.

“Indiana is at the forefront of efforts to make the judiciary more transparent,” the five wrote in a joint response to questions posed by Indiana Lawyer, citing the increase in webcasting and online information about cases and judges. “When we help our citizens better understand the function and operation of the appellate court system, we ultimately give them more confidence in the justice system as a whole.”

The judges answered 12 questions posed by IL.


One tool being used to help the legal community and general public keep informed about these jurists is the state judiciary’s website at www.in.gov/judiciary/retention, which was updated this summer to mirror 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.

In addition, the Indiana State Bar Association’s Improvements in the Judicial System Committee e-mailed a survey to its members statewide in September asking attorneys to take a confidential “yes” or “no” poll on whether those judges should be retained. The surveys went out five times to give everyone a chance to respond, and results were expected to be released Oct. 12 – after deadline for this story. This was the second time attorneys have received the poll by e-mail rather than traditional paper ballot; the first was in 2008, when three Indiana Supreme Court justices, one Court of Appeals judge, and the Tax Court judge were up for retention. About 8,000 members were polled two years ago and about 1,500 cast ballots, translating to an 18.5 percent response rate that overwhelmingly supported the jurists.•
 

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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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