First round interviews begin

September 27, 2010
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From IL reporter Michael Hoskins, who is sitting in on the interviews today.

Martha Wentworth
Talking about her 20-year career that’s been directed at state taxation, Martha Wentworth said she never thought this opportunity would arise. This would be the “culmination or pinnacle” of giving back to her state, and she’s committed to the tax court mission and hopes to protect, preserve, and hopefully enhance that mission. She has been attracted to tax law since law school and describes this area of law as “wonder-filled.” Wentworth likes taking complex items and making them simple for people to understand, she said.

Wentworth said she’s seen the devastating impact on taxpayers because of an adverse tax decision, while she’s also worked closely with the state Department of Revenue and knows how significant those rulings can be for the agencies and government. Asked about the Town of St. John ruling that significantly altered state tax law, and she said she wasn’t sure how she would have ruled on that issue. Access and transparency on the court is important in helping people understand these tax laws, she said.

George Angelone
Being a judge is the highest aspiration one can have, and he said you need both temperament and skill. An attorney for the Legislative Services Agency for the past three decades, he’s focused on reviewing tax and public finance work and he said the LSA is one of the only places where you can get volume and variety that the Tax Court receives. He knows the legislature, the legal environment, and is also committed to outreach to improve the profession. Says he can bring a methodical approach to analyze and applying the law, and knows how all the pieces fit together.

One commission member asked about how the Tax Court can assist when local governments, taxpayers, and businesses are troubled by taxes and tax law. Angelone said more can be done locally to improve the process. Two- or three-year waits aren’t efficient, and he hopes the bar in general and through CLE can help educate how items can be moved more quickly through the tax review process.

Hon. Karen Love
This would be the “natural evolution” of her career and she finds the subject matter of the Tax Court very interesting. She discussed with commission members what she calls the “ABCs” of this position, which she described as meaning the attitude of a judge, the balance she can bring based on her experience, and those critical aspects of clarity, consistency, and communication. She talked about her judicial and administrative experience and past practice as an attorney, her CPA work, as well as her 30 years of marriage to a farmer that has given her the perspective of a taxpayer.

Being on a bank board has helped her see the need for objective measures about cost and finances. She talked about her experience in helping draft Child Support Guidelines, and she said her Domestic Relations Committee experience has been the most rewarding and gave her a glimpse of how she can serve the entire state.

 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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