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Dickson: ‘Time is right’ to step down as chief justice

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Saying “the time is right for this transition,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson announced Wednesday he would relinquish his leadership of the state Supreme Court but will remain as an associate justice until he faces mandatory retirement in just over two years.

The Judicial Nominating Commission will select the next chief justice and has scheduled public interviews Aug. 6 with Justices Steven David, Mark Massa, Robert Rucker and Loretta Rush to determine who will succeed Dickson.

Dickson expects to step down from his leadership role sometime before Sept. 1, according to a statement from the court.

“It has been a great joy and a privilege to have helped continue the Court’s tradition of excellence — especially with four hard-working colleagues who are devoted to the law,” Dickson said in a statement. “I am looking forward to being able to spend most of my time in legal research, deciding cases, and writing opinions.”

Dickson has led the court since May 2012, when he succeeded the state’s longest-serving chief justice, Randall Shepard. “Knowing that my tenure as chief justice was limited, each associate justice has actively participated in much of the administrative responsibilities and decisions of the office of chief justice,” Dickson said.

“The time is right for this transition.  The court and state will be well served when one of my colleagues is selected as the next chief justice.”

Gov. Mike Pence saluted Dickson, saying he “has served our state well for the last two years as the head of our state’s highest court, and has brought his outstanding legal expertise and practical judgment to bear throughout his 28 years as a member of the court.  I know him to be a man of great faith, and I applaud his long-standing commitment to public service in the legal system and look forward to his continued wisdom as he remains on the court.”

As chair of the seven-member Judicial Nominating Commission, Dickson will have a say in who succeeds him on the court. The commission also includes three lawyers elected by attorneys and three lay members appointed by the governor. There are two members appointed by Pence and one filling the remainder of a term who was appointed by former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Dickson was selected in 1986 as the 100th justice appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court. His former colleague on the high court, Frank Sullivan Jr., said Dickson's modest and inclusive approach has been appreciated by the many judges, lawyers and citizens with whom he has had contact.

“I am pleased that Chief Justice Dickson will remain a member of the Supreme Court," said Sullivan, now a professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.  "During his long tenure – indeed, the second longest tenure of any Indiana Supreme Court justice in history – he has authored some of the most important and far-reaching opinions of the court.  The breadth and strength of the court’s decisions will benefit from his continued efforts."

Among the major initiatives during his tenure as chief justice, Dickson expanded efforts to bring the court’s trial court technology system to all Indiana courts, revitalized the use of volunteer attorneys to provide civil legal aid to the needy, and initiated the reform of Indiana’s pre-trial release system to enhance public safety, reduce taxpayer expense and provide greater fairness.

 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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