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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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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