Editorial: State should avoid selection slugfests

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Indiana Lawyer Editorial

Indiana's lawmakers plan to look at judicial retention during this summer's study session. The Commission on Courts will study the current system and how voters get information about the judges who face such a vote. Three of our five justices are on the November ballot, as is our tax court judge, and one of our Court of Appeals judges. 
We'd like to see the average voter know more about our appellate courts. We know the high court is working to make information about the judges who are up for retention easily available to the average voter on the state's Web site,, and we applaud that effort. Once that's completed, we'd encourage our readers to let their hometown newspapers know about it to help spread the word. 
All our judges facing retention ought to be returned to the bench. We have a good thing going here in Indiana, and we're not the only ones who think so. We wrote in a recent post to our blog, First Impressions, about a conversation one of IL's reporters had not too long ago with Chief Justice Margaret Marshall of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. She told us she keeps in touch with our Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and often looks to Indiana for guidance and insight on various issues. It's something we've heard other jurists say when they talk about the civility displayed by our bench and bar. 
The retention issue for Indiana's appellate judges was fixed 40 years ago and does not need to be broken. In fact, we'd like to see a version of the state model replicated in trial courts. We've said it before, but it bears repeating; we're going to lose a great deal of judicial talent come the next election cycle because judges didn't play politics well enough or got outspent by an opponent. 
We hope the Commission on Courts will listen to the words of our chief justice and not let Indiana go the way of the "multi-million dollar special interest slugfests that are a common feature in our neighboring states and elsewhere in the country." It's no way to choose a judge.• 

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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.