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Editorial: Ted Boehm not headed toward retirement

Editorial Indiana Lawyer
October 27, 2010
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Indiana Lawyer Editorial

This was one retirement ceremony we were not looking forward to attending, fearing that the gentleman stepping away from the bench would slip away from public life and live quietly with his family, indulging his interests outside the law, while working as a mediator at Van Winkle Baten Rimstidt and senior judging for the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Family time and sports also may be on the agenda, but we were thrilled when former justice Ted Boehm said during his retirement ceremony at the end of last month: “I do not intend to vanish from the public arena” and then proceeded to explain just exactly what he wanted to give a little of his newfound time and attention to.

“Too often preservation of individual privilege or defense of party power is elevated over the greater public good in the actions and sometimes even in the stated positions of officials or office seekers. We can no longer afford tolerating remnants of the spoils system as the necessary cost of our government,” he said.

We couldn’t agree more.

He listed some of the problems we face in our current economic state: public safety, education, infrastructure, public transportation, libraries and parks. “Yet we are unable to implement programs that can provide better service at less cost. Many others have noted the often contentious mode of debate on issues of critical importance to our city, state and nation. This is more than distasteful. It is costing us money and degrading the quality of services we can and should expect from government at all levels and in all three branches.”

That was music to our ears.

Then he mentioned the analysis of county and township government, which sometimes seems to have been etched into granite instead of mere concrete, and the findings of the 2007 Kernan-Shepard report. He pointed out the deplorable inefficiencies of our local governments, and then got to the whopper as far as we were concerned.

“A second example comes from the judicial branch, where in some parts of the state we have systems of judicial selection that work well, but in Marion County, for example, we have a scheme that purports to place the selection in the hands of the voters, but in practical effect leaves it under the control of a few party officials. There are several pernicious results, not the least of which is the judges become a vehicle for raising funds for political parties. Despite widespread derision, even ridicule of this system, few in government have the will to challenge it.”

We suspect we just celebrated the retirement of someone who has the will to not only challenge it, but to change it. He may need a hammer or a wrench to do it, but if anyone can bring about this kind of change, we’re certain he can.

Indianapolis is a success as an amateur sports hub owing at least in part to Boehm’s efforts as the first president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Sports Corporation. His list of accomplishments is extensive and impressive; he is not someone to trifle with.

We suspect that when he decides it’s time to start dismantling the system by which we “elect” judges in Marion County, that his honor will not need a hammer or a wrench, but should he decide he needs such implements, we’d be happy to hand them to him.•

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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