Talk of reform and recusal

November 5, 2008
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From IL reporter Michael Hoskins:

Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard took some time Wednesday following Election Day to talk with about 60 people about local government reform. He spoke at the North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis about his work last year on the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform, which issued a report calling for sweeping statewide changes in how the system is setup. The chief justice pointed out that our Hoosier state has 2 percent of the nation’s population, but accounts for 8 percent of its governance and that most people don’t know all their local officials. One point he discussed was about public safety, particularly how a mixture of full-time and volunteer fire departments throughout the state duplicate services and aren’t the most efficient or cost-effective option for residents. “This is not a commentary on the people, but on the structure of the system in which they belabor,” he said.

Interestingly, that issue of local government reform that he spoke about is one that is currently before the Indiana Supreme Court, at least in the form of a transfer petition. A Nashville attorney challenging a countywide fire protection district that his clients say was created illegally wants the high court to take the case, and is asking the state’s top jurist to recuse himself from it because of his involvement with local government reform efforts. That case is Ronald Sanders, et al. v. Board of Commissioners of Brown County, et. al, No. 07A01-0803-CV-00104 and follows a September ruling from the Court of Appeals allowing for the district’s creation under the Home Rule Act.

But now, given the chief justice’s advocating for this type of consolidation where necessary, it begs the question of whether the chief justice should recuse himself from this case and any similar ones that could come before the court in the future. While he’s likely able to distinguish between both roles, questions of public perception can sometimes be just as weighty as the administration of justice itself. No decision has been made yet on the transfer request or the recusal question, according to the appellate clerk’s docket.

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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.