ILNews

Justices again deny election request

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court has denied for the second time in two months a request to get involved in a Terre Haute mayoral election dispute.

The justices sent notice Tuesday to attorneys that they won't bypass the Court of Appeals on a dispute resulting from the November election, when Republican Duke Bennett ousted incumbent Democrat Mayor Kevin Burke by about 110 votes.

The court had previously decided not to get involved in an issue about whether Vigo Superior Judge David Bolk had jurisdiction in the case of the recount petition's validity because of a missing middle initial. Bennett later won by a few additional votes and was sworn in at the start of the year.

But Burke had also challenged Bennett's candidacy on grounds that he'd violated the Hatch Act, a federal law limiting political activity of non-profits receiving federal money. Bennett had worked during his campaign for Hamilton Center Inc., which operated as an Early Head Start program and received a federal grant.

After the recount, Judge Bolk ruled in December that state law doesn't prevent Bennett from taking office and that any violation of the federal law was unintentional. Rather than go directly to the Indiana Court of Appeals, attorneys asked the state's highest court to intervene. But a docket entry Tuesday shows the justices denied that.

Indianapolis attorney Bryan Babb, who is representing Bennett, said the case now goes before the Court of Appeals and could take as long as two years to get through both appellate courts.

"I think it's fair to say that if they felt that Judge Bolk had got it wrong and that Mayor Bennett does not belong in office, then they would have accelerated this process and heard the case as soon as possible," Babb said.

Ed DeLaney is representing Burke.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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