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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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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