7 remain in running for Tax Court judge

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In less than 30 minutes, the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission cut in half the list of applicants to become the state’s second-ever Indiana Tax Court judge.

The seven-member commission chaired by Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard ended its first round of interviews with 14 applicants Monday afternoon, going into a closed-door executive session about 3:15 p.m. By 4 p.m., the members were ready to hold a public vote announcing the seven they’d bring back for a second interview:

– George Angelone, an Indianapolis attorney with the Legislative Services Agency who was admitted to practice in 1976.

– Dan Carwile, a longtime banking attorney who is senior vice president with Old National Wealth Management in Evansville. He was admitted to practice in 1983.

– Hon. Carol Comer, an administrative law judge with the Indiana Board of Tax Review who has been practicing since 1996.

– Joby Jerrells, a second-career attorney admitted in 2003 who works both in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office as a deputy prosecutor and also a self-employed attorney out of his home in Bloomington.

– Hon. Karen Love, who has been on the Hendricks Superior bench since 1995 after practicing privately and working previously as a certified accountant.

– Melony Sacopulos, who is general counsel at Indiana State University in Terre Haute but has been practicing since 1988.

– Martha Wentworth, tax director at the Greenwood-based multistate group Deloitte Tax LLP who’s previously served in roles that included clerking for the Tax Court in the early 1990s.

These seven will have their next interviews before the commission Oct. 27, and three names will be sent to Gov. Mitch Daniels to consider for the final appointment. Whoever is chosen will replace Judge Thomas G. Fisher, who was the state’s first tax judge in 1986 and is retiring at year’s end.

Leading up to the vote today, the commission had started interviews at 9 a.m. with those interested in the appellate tax court. Fifteen had originally applied, but one person withdrew his name last week. Aside from those named as semi-finalists, also interviewing were Andrew Swain, Hon. Bruce Kolb, Marilyn Meighen, Joseph Pearman, Randle Pollard, Michelle Baldwin, and Thomas Ewbank.

Each person appeared for a 20 minute interview. The chief justice greeted each applicant who came before the commission today, thanking that person for applying and asking everyone about their interest in the judicial spot. The responses were all similar, differing to a degree based on their own experiences. Many said this judicial post would be a logical evolution in their legal careers and that they wanted to continue the practice of having fair and concise caselaw that Judge Fisher has created during the past 24 years.

“I’ve always enjoyed the intellectual puzzles that tax law presents,” Sacopulos said about her interest, delving into her work for a national tax office in Washington, D.C., that she said gave her unique experience.

Commissioners asked some of the same questions to applicants, such as about their views on the Tax Court’s mission and how the court and judge should interact with the legislature on tax law and issues. Members also turned to applicants’ information about their most significant legal matters and also how those experiences might have prepared them for the tax bench.

Judge Love discussed what she calls the “ABCs” of this court, which she described as meaning the attitude of a judge, the balance she can bring based on her experience, and those critical aspects of clarity, consistency, and communication.

In his response, Angelone said he’s focused on tax and public finance work and the Legislative Services Agency is one of the only places you can find a similar caseload to what the Tax Court faces. He noted that two- or three-year waits on some tax issues at the local level isn’t good enough, and more must be done at that stage to make the process more efficient. The bar could help with that, possibly through continuing legal education, he said.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.