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Indy mayor wins redistricting battle

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The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard Wednesday in a dispute between the mayor and Democratic members of the city-county council who challenged a redistricting plan passed in late 2011.

In the fall of 2011, the Marion County City-County Council, which had a Republican majority, voted to approve a proposal creating Ordinance 61. That ordinance redrew the 25 districts for elections to the council beginning in 2015. Ballard signed the ordinance Jan. 1, 2012.

The ordinance was approved before a Democratic majority would take hold in the City-County Council beginning Jan. 1, 2012. Democratic Councilor Maggie Lewis filed a lawsuit against the Marion County Election Board, arguing that the ordinance failed to comply with I.C. 36-3-4-3, the county’s Redistricting Statute.

The dispute went before a divided panel of trial court judges, who held that the ordinance was passed too early to satisfy the Redistricting Statue. The judges drew new legislative districts and ordered Lewis and Ballard to equally split the cost of the master who was brought in to issue the final judgment.

The justices, in the per curiam decision, noted that both sides presented reasonable arguments about how the Redistricting Statute should be construed, and in particular, whether Ordinance 61 constitutes mandatory redistricting in 2012. The justices determined that it would be proper, as a matter of judicial restraint, to adopt the interpretation that avoids judicial line-drawing in what “is presumptively a matter for the legislative and executive branches of local government to address.”

“While recognizing Ordinance 61 as mandatory redistricting is just one reasonable construction of the Redistricting Statute, we adopt it because it allows legislatively adopted districts to remain in place and avoids the need for districts drawn by a court,” the opinion states.

The justices also noted that the disputed legal issue in this case is whether the City-County Council acted too early, but there is no allegation that the ordinance was substantively defective.

In addition to ordering summary judgment be entered in favor of Ballard, the justices reversed any order requiring him to pay part of the cost of the master.

The case is Mayor Gregory Ballard v. Maggie Lewis, John Barth, and Vernon Brown, 49S00-1311-PL-716.

 

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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