Expedited hearing to be sought after justices again deny transfer

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The attorney for a man challenging the inclusion of a Lake County judicial prospect’s name on the general election ballot will seek an expedited hearing with the Indiana Court of Appeals after justices Wednesday denied a second emergency request for transfer.

Michael W. Back of Crown Point told Indiana Lawyer this morning he plans to file for the expedited hearing with the appeals court on behalf of his client, Michael J. Lambert. A Republican and Winfield Town Council member, Lambert is challenging the candidacy of Highland attorney William I. Fine because Lake County Republican Party chairman Kim Krull named Fine the party’s candidate for Lake Circuit Court. Judge Lorenzo Arredondo decided not to seek re-election and leaves the bench at the end of this year.

“The Republican County chair exceeded her authority,” said Back, who added that his client wants only for the state Republican Party rules to be followed, meaning that the party would have conducted a caucus to determine the candidate.

No one from the Republican Party ran in the primary. Merrillville Town Judge George Paras won the Democratic primary.

Time is of the essence because of the Nov. 2 election, Back acknowledged. He also recognized that if they succeed in essentially having Fine’s candidacy nullified, that Lake County voters will have only one choice.  

“If he, Mr. Fine, really had an interest in this office, he should have run in the primary,” said Back.

After Fine was put on the ballot in late May, Lambert filed a challenge, which led to the Indiana Election Commission’s deadlocked vote of 2-2, meaning Fine “lost,” Back said. Then, Fine filed in Marion Superior Court to challenge the jurisdiction of the state election board.

That’s nonsense, said Back, adding,  “That’s their job. I just find that a very interesting twist.”

“From our perspective, it’s critical – especially in Lake County – that the election process is properly followed,” said Back. “If it’s not, it taints the election.”

The Indiana Supreme Court twice this week denied motions to accept jurisdiction over Michael J. Lambert v. William I. Fine, No. 49A04-1009-PL-00556. On Sept. 17, the appellants filed an emergency Appellate Rule 56(A) motion for the high court to accept jurisdiction over the appeal from Marion Superior Court. The Supreme Court denied that motion Tuesday, noting the appellate jurisdiction remains with the Indiana Court of Appeals. Lambert filed a renewed emergency Appellate Rule 56(A) motion that same day, and the justices denied the request Wednesday afternoon.

Marion Superior Judge Michael Keele had reversed the election commission decision Sept. 13 and granted a temporary restraining order and late last week issued a final order that stops the state from keeping Fine off the ballot. Judge Keele noted that no basis in law exists to interpret state party rules in a way to override a statute and that the election commission doesn’t have the subject matter jurisdiction to endorse state party rules, let alone at the expense of a statutory grant of power to a county chair.

There has been no ruling on Fine’s motion to dismiss.


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  1. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

  3. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise