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Clark judges sue over budget cuts

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

Clark Circuit and Superior judges have filed lawsuits against county officials over proposed budget cuts, restarting the kind of litigation that four years ago led to the Indiana Supreme Court’s urging that trial judges work with and share in the financial decision-making process rather than resorting to judicial mandates.

Two lawsuits filed in April and May allege the county council has cut the budget in ways that leave too little money for the courts to do their constitutional jobs. If successful, the lawsuits could require the county to borrow up to $1.2 million and enact a special tax increase to pay off that loan in order to fund what the judges want. In March, the council cut the Superior and Circuit budgets by 50 percent because the state wouldn’t allow a property tax increase.

Circuit Judge Daniel Moore filed a suit in April that claims the council’s decision was “arbitrary and unreasonable,” and that the decision failed to meet “legally required mandates and standards for policy-based decision-making.”

Superior Judges Vicki Carmichael, Jerry Jacobi, and Joseph Weber filed a suit this month that says it would be impossible for their courts to function properly if the money isn’t restored.

The pair of suits follows the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling in 2007 on two mandate cases including Clark County Council, et al. v. Daniel F. Donahue et al., 873 N.E.2d 1038, 1039, in which the judges filed suit after the county decided to use all of the annual probation fees to pay salaries and other expenditures to avoid employee layoffs.

That case focused on the use of probation fees, and the justices remanded the case with directions that the Clark County Council allocate or return some of that money to the county adult probation services fund. In conjunction with another mandate action from Montgomery County, the state justices tried to strike a middle ground that encouraged a compromise between county judges and officials when dealing with fiscal issues. The court hinted that an unbalanced scale could hinder the overall justice system or damage independence, but it didn’t specifically strike down the ability to use judicial mandates under Trial Rule 60.5.

Rehearing: "Court rules on judicial mandates, probation-fee use" IL Oct. 3 - 16, 2007
 

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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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