ILNews

Blanket recusal comes in Vanderburgh child-support case

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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Every so often, judges find they must recuse themselves in certain cases. That's happening in Vanderburgh County, where all the superior judges have been recused from a case involving the child support matters of a magistrate's son.

Suzanne Hebert Hamilton is waging the child support legal battle against her ex-husband, Richard Hamilton, who is son of Vanderburgh Superior Magistrate Allen Hamilton. The couple separated in 2005 and finalized a divorce early last year. She lives in Florida with the couple's two children and in May 2006 asked Vanderburgh Superior Judge Robert Pigman to enforce a contempt order from Florida that Richard Hamilton owed $25,000 in back child support.

In June, Judge Pigman recused himself because of a conflict of interest - he supervises magistrates.

"Recusal in the face of criticism is a particularly uninviting option for this court; however, given the nature and the circumstances surrounding the particular case, the court feels it is in the best interest of both parties that a fresh set of eyes examine the evidence," Judge Pigman wrote in his June 28 order.

The following day, Superior Judge Wayne Trockman recused all of the county superior judges in the case. A hearing was canceled last week to determine if Hamilton was making progress on child support payments, according to the local clerk's office. The Indiana Supreme Court has yet to assign a special judge.
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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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