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David, Massa stake key positions on court

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supreme-justices1-15col.jpg From left, Indiana Justices Robert Rucker and Loretta Rush, Chief Justice Brent Dickson, and Justices Mark Massa and Steven David. (Photo Courtesy Indiana Supreme Court)

A review of the work of the Indiana Supreme Court in 2012 by Barnes & Thornburg LLP attorneys finds Justices Steven David and Mark Massa establishing themselves respectively as swing votes and active dissenters.

Those are among the observations in the annual review, “An Examination of the Indiana Supreme Court Docket, Dispositions and Voting in 2012,” prepared by Barnes partners Mark J. Crandley and P. Jason Stephenson and associate Jeff Peabody.

The paper notes it might be too early to draw conclusions about the court so soon after a year of many changes. Brent Dickson replaced Randall Shepard as chief justice, and Massa and Loretta Rush were appointed. But change didn’t slow the court, according to the report.

“In a year of such great transition, one would expect the Court’s overall workload to be impacted. That proved not to be the case,” the analysis says, noting 103 opinions were handed down in 2012, up from 86 in 2011.

The report noted David sided with Shepard and Dickson in more than 90 percent of cases, while Massa in his first months on the bench wrote nearly as many dissents – five – as majority opinions – seven. Joining the court late in 2012, Rush took part in just nine opinions, all unanimous decisions.

Among other findings:

• David and Shepard voted together in 96 percent of cases; David also agreed with Dickson in 90 percent of cases.

• In the 16 3-2 decisions, David and Dickson were in the majority 12 times and Justice Robert Rucker nine. Rucker and Sullivan each wrote 10 dissents.

• The rate of reversal in criminal cases continued to fall. Just 56 percent of criminal cases the court accepted were reversed, down from 81.6 percent in 2008.

View the report at www.theindianalawyer.com/2012SupremeCourtReview.•
 

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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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