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Judicial candidates warned about campaign content

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Candidates for judicial office should not use photographs of courtrooms in their campaign materials, and only incumbent judges should be depicted in judicial robes in campaign ads, according to an advisory opinion from the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications.

The opinion released Thursday addressing Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 4 also advises that judicial candidates should avoid potentially misleading words and phrases in campaign slogans. For instance, a slogan such as “Elect Jones Circuit Court Judge” could be problematic if Jones isn’t an incumbent, because the phrasing implies Jones is a sitting judge.

The opinion, citing similar opinions and holdings from other states, also advises judges seeking a different judicial office to refrain from using “re-elect” in their campaign materials.

“The use of campaign photos featuring a judge wearing his or her black robes is subject to the same analysis as campaign slogans with regard to the potential to mislead voters,” the opinion says. “In general, incumbent judges who are running for re-election may wear their judicial robes in campaign advertisements without fear of misleading the public.

“However, non-incumbent judges should ensure the campaign material clearly conveys the role the judge currently holds, and judicial candidates who are not currently judges should avoid being pictured in judicial robes as it creates the misleading impression that the candidate already is a judge.”

Candidates and their campaign committees have a duty to ensure their campaign materials and practices comply with judicial canons.

“When preparing campaign materials, judges and judicial candidates always must be mindful of their duties to protect the integrity, independence, and impartiality of the judiciary,” the opinion says. “Inherent in this concept is the duty to avoid using the prestige of judicial office to promote one’s candidacy and the duty to be truthful in all communications with potential voters.”  


 

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  • Deception of a Candidate
    JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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