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Commission narrows Tax Court applicants

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The Indiana Tax Court logo symbolizes what will remain the same next year, even though the only person who’s ever presided on that appellate bench will change for the first time since that court was created more than a quarter century ago.

Tax Judge Thomas G. Fisher announced Aug. 12 that he plans to retire at year’s end, culminating a 45-year legal career that will have encompassed 24 years on the appellate tax bench and given him a chance to decide more than 800 cases. At age 70, the longtime judge is nearing the mandatory retirement age of 75 for state appellate judges.

Now, the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission is deciding who will succeed Judge Fisher and become Indiana’s next Tax Court judge. The seven-member commission chaired by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard has conducted its first round of interviews with the 14 vying for the spot. The commission will ultimately choose three names to send to Gov. Mitch Daniels to make the final decision.

Those interested in the appellate seat had to submit applications by Sept. 20, and six women and nine men had applied. However, Noblesville attorney Richard Hofmann, tax director of RedCats USA, withdrew his name from consideration Sept. 24 and wasn’t interviewed.

The initial applicants were:

• George Angelone, an Indianapolis attorney with Legislative Services Agency who was admitted to practice in 1976.

• Michelle L. Baldwin, a Fishers attorney with Baldwin Legal Services who began practicing in 2001.

• Dan Carwile, a longtime banking attorney who is senior vice president with Old National Wealth Management in Evansville. He was admitted to practice in 1983. Carwile has been inactive but in good standing as of Sept. 13, according to the Roll of Attorneys.

• Hon. Carol Comer, an administrative law judge with the state Board of Tax Review who was admitted to practice in 1996.

• Thomas Ewbank, a partner in the Carmel office of Krieg DeVault who was admitted in 1969.

• Joby Jerrells, a deputy prosecutor with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and a self-employed attorney in Bloomington who is a second-career attorney admitted in 2003.

• Hon. Bruce Kolb of Fishers, an administrative law judge with the Indiana Department of Revenue who was admitted in 1990.

• Hon. Karen Love, a Hendricks Superior judge from Lizton who was admitted to the bar in 1986.

• Marilyn Meighen, a principal at Meighen & Associates in Carmel who began practicing in 1977.

• Joseph Pearman, a solo practitioner in Carmel who began practicing in 1993.

• Randle Pollard, a solo practitioner in Indianapolis and an associate professor at the Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, Penn., who started practicing in Indiana in 2004 but practiced outside the state prior to that.

• Melony Sacopulos, general counsel at Indiana State University in Terre Haute who has been practicing since 1988.

• Andrew Swain of Fishers, chief counsel for the Revenue Division in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office who was admitted to practice in 1988.

• Martha Wentworth, tax director at the Greenwood-based multistate group Deloitte Tax LLP who was admitted in 1990.

First interviews were Sept. 27, and after IL deadline for this story, the commission that includes three lawyers and three governor-appointed non-attorneys narrowed that list of 14 to a group of semi-finalists who will return for second interviews Oct. 27. Expanded coverage can be found online at the Indiana Lawyer’s website, theindianalawyer.com.•
 

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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