ILNews

Chief Justice speaking on judicial independence

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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Judicial independence and accountability are the topics du jour for Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard.

The state's top judge was the keynote speaker at an Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum this afternoon. The Center for Free Inquiry at Hanover College hosted the free program, "Politics and the Courts: Judicial Independence and Accountability," at the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum in Indianapolis.

This topic arises as the role of courts in the U.S. has become a focus for criticism, including how the judiciary is often blamed for everything from light sentences for criminals to questionable interpretations of the Constitution.

The seminar examines two themes prevalent in current national debates about the role of the judiciary in a democratic society. Chief Justice Shepard was to discuss the idea that by protecting judges from political pressure, the intrusion of politics can be limited to the resolution of legal and constitutional questions. He also was to talk about how if the judiciary is to play a constructive role, those jurists must be accountable for the decisions they render.

Along with the chief justice's comments, a panel discussion was slated to include professor Charles Geyh with the Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington, and Hanover professor John Ahrens, who've both written about this topic.
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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