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High court asked to intervene in recount

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The Indiana Supreme Court is being asked to toss out a trial judge's order for a Terre Haute mayoral race recount because the petitioner failed to include the winner's middle initial.

Attorney James Bopp Jr. with Terre Haute law firm Bopp Coleson & Bostrom filed an emergency request Thursday afternoon for the justices to intervene in the recount challenge, contending that Vigo Circuit Judge David Bolk didn't have jurisdiction to order a recount from the Nov. 6 election. Democratic Mayor Kevin Burke asked for a recount shortly after losing by 107 votes to Republican Duke Bennett.

But Bopp argues that Judge Bolk, who serves as both a Circuit and Superior judge, didn't have jurisdiction because of the variance in Bennett's name as it appeared in court papers and on the ballot. On the ballot, his full name with middle initial "A" is listed, while the challenge petition did not list that initial.

Therefore, the court can't rule on the recount, Bopp's brief says.

Earlier this week, Judge Bolk denied motions to dismiss recount and election challenge petitions on the name variance grounds, leading to the Supreme Court filing.

"While such an error might seem trivial, it was significant enough of a distinction to the legislature to amend recount of election requirements to specifically require a candidate's name as written on the ballot in a recount proceeding," the brief states, "and is likewise enough of an omission to divest (Vigo Circuit Court and Judge Bolk) of jurisdiction."

Bopp cites three Indiana Supreme Court cases as authority that specific names must be included and mirror the ballot: State ex Rel Young v. Noble Circuit Court, 332 N.E.2d 102 (Ind. 1975); Marra v. Clapp, 262 N.E.2d 631 (Ind. 1970); and State v. Lake Circuit Court, 121 N.E.2d 647, 649 (Ind. 1954).

This recount petition suffers a similar, fatal flaw as those cases, Bopp contends in his brief, and Burke's doesn't meet state law requirements.

Denying this petition would create extreme hardship for the newly-elected mayor by being "unnecessarily delayed" in taking the position and subject him to further scrutiny beyond the judicial jurisdictional scope, Bopp's brief states.

A trial has been scheduled for Dec. 17 on the recount challenges, according to the local court calendar, but that may not happen depending on action from the state's high court.
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  1. Oh, the name calling was not name calling, it was merely social commentary making this point, which is on the minds of many, as an aside to the article's focus: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100111082327AAmlmMa Or, if you prefer a local angle, I give you exhibit A in that analysis of viva la difference: http://fox59.com/2015/03/16/moed-appears-on-house-floor-says-hes-not-resigning/

  2. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  3. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  4. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  5. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

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