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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 just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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