ILNews

Supreme Court will hear candidate certification dispute

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The candidacy of a Cass Circuit judge is now going before the Indiana Supreme Court - even though the candidate in question has been a sitting judge for this entire year.

Justices have granted transfer in J. Bradley King, et al. v. Leo T. Burns, et al., 09A02-0610-CV-847, which questioned the candidacy of judicial office-seeker Leo Burns in last year's primary and general election.

Burns, who was selected to fill the vacancy in the November 2006 ballot after the May primary, was not certified by the state because the Democratic county chair filed documents at the wrong office and didn't get the necessary notices to the state for Burns' name to go on the ballot. Despite the filing error, Burns gained an injunction in September ordering the state to certify his candidacy. The Indiana Election Division appealed Cass Circuit Judge Julian Ridlen's ruling and the Court of Appeals denied that Jan. 31.

In the meantime, however, Burns' name appeared on the ballot and he won in the Nov. 7 election over a Republican rival.

The three-judge appellate panel in January wrote, "We decline to disenfranchise the voters of Cass County by overturning their decision that Burns should be their circuit court judge, based on a technical violation of a law that had no practical effect on the validity of the Nov. 7, 2006 general election."

Noting that the election division could point to no practical consequences of Burns' form being filed incorrectly, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

"Burns clearly was the Democratic Party's chosen candidate .... That choice was communicated accurately to Cass County voters. They elected Burns to office. He is qualified to hold that office," the court wrote. "The 'eminently practical doctrine' formerly known as 'de minimis non curat lex' .... Proclaims that the law does not redress trifles."
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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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