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Indiana: 'model' for judicial accountability

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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A national watchdog group has ranked Indiana seventh in the nation for how it holds its state and federal judges accountable.

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization HALT, Inc. - Help Abolish Legal Tyranny - gave the Hoosier state's program a "C+" on its report card, which it claims is the first study of its kind in the nation. Both Indiana and Nevada received the 7th-place ranking.

A press release about the state's ranking cited Indiana as "exemplary" in some respects including consumer-friendly policies, public outreach, and not prohibiting individuals from speaking publicly about ethics complaints against judges. HALT also praised the Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission's Web site for being easy to navigate and clearly explaining the judicial disciplinary process.

In keeping with the report card theme, the organization gave Indiana demerits for failing to place meaningful limitations on the reimbursement and compensation judges can take in connection with privately funded trips. The fact the Judicial Qualifications Commission relies primarily on private sanctions also lowered Indiana's overall grade.

Despite these flaws, HALT's senior counsel Suzanne M. Blonder cites Indiana as a model for the rest of the nation in several significant areas.

HALT graded all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the federal circuits. Washington State took top honors with a "B." No state received an "A." Mississippi and Maine received flunking scores.

Click here to view HALT's report card on Indiana.
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  1. Please I need help with my class action lawsuits, im currently in pro-se and im having hard time findiNG A LAWYER TO ASSIST ME

  2. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

  3. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

  4. I've been denied I appeal court date took a year my court date was Nov 9,2016 and have not received a answer yet

  5. Warsaw indiana dcs lying on our case. We already proved that in our first and most recent court appearance i need people to contact me who have evidence of dcs malpractice please email or facebook nathaniel hollett thank you

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