Seven attorneys remain in the running to be the next Indiana Tax Court judge, and they return for second interviews before the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission Oct. 27. Here is a glimpse of the seven who made it past the first cut from the 14 who went through the first interviews.
George T. Angelone
Indianapolis attorney with the Legislative Services Agency who was admitted to practice in 1976.
Angelone has three decades of experience reviewing tax and public finance work. He knows the legislature, the legal environment, and workings of tax court caseload, and is committed to outreach to improve the profession. He can bring a methodical approach to analyze and apply the law, and knows how all the pieces fit together. He said more can be done locally to improve the tax law process because two- or three-year waits aren’t efficient.
Dan J. Carwile
Banking attorney who is senior vice president with Old National Wealth Management in Evansville. He was admitted to practice in 1983.
Carwile said his experience has prepared him for this post, and he emphasized his hard work and ethics as being important. He said he’d be sensitive to pro se litigants and small-claims issues.
Hon. Carol S. Comer
Administrative law judge with the Indiana Board of Tax Review who has been practicing since 1996.
Judge Comer’s entire career has been spent on the administrative side and she has handled all issues, including reworking the tax board’s procedural rules in 2007 because of the assessment law and agency structure changes. She said it’s important to be mindful of caselaw exemptions that can build up and prevent a big ruling like Town of St. John, and that the court could work with the legislature to ensure that it understands constitutionality.
Joby D. Jerrells
Second-career attorney admitted in 2003 who works in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office as a deputy prosecutor and also a self-employed attorney out of his home in Bloomington.
Jerrells discussed the variety of his workload and his work on the Trump and Aztar cases, which allowed him to use his policy-analysis skills and also showed him how the principles of the law apply more than the dollar amount.
Hon. Karen M. Love
Hendricks Superior judge since 1995 after practicing privately and working previously as a certified accountant. She was admitted to practice in 1986.
She discussed with commission members what she calls the “ABCs” of this position, which she described as meaning the attitude of a judge, the balance she can bring based on her experience, and those critical aspects of clarity, consistency, and communication. Judge Love helped draft the child support guidelines and she said her work on the domestic relations committee has been the most rewarding.
Melony A. Sacopulos
General counsel at Indiana State University in Terre Haute who has been practicing since 1988.
Sacopulos said her university experience means handling many different areas each day and having to make prudent judgment calls that impact someone’s life or career. The judge’s opinions that interpret statute should be the extent of the relationship between the court and legislature, she said.
Martha B. Wentworth
Tax director at the Greenwood-based multistate group Deloitte Tax LLP who’s previously served in roles that included clerking for the Tax Court in the early 1990s. She was admitted to practice in 1990.
Wentworth has seen the devastating impact on taxpayers from adverse tax decisions, and she has worked closely with the state Department of Revenue and knows how significant those rulings can be for the agencies and government. She wasn’t sure how she would have ruled on the Town of St. John case. She said access and transparency on the court is important in helping people understand these tax laws.•