The interviews continue

September 27, 2010
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From IL reporter Michael Hoskins:

Andrew Swain
He said the Tax Court would take his career to the next level, and he’d be able to continue ensuring fair application of tax laws for the state and people as he now does for the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. Talking about his experience in Colorado, Swain said that Indiana is different because of the Tax Court - Colorado doesn’t have one - and that means this state has a clearer, non-repetitious system where you aren’t wasting time and re-litigating the same issues because of a lack of common tax concepts. He described the Miller Brewing case as an example of how the Indiana Tax Court got it right about income tax sourcing, and he also discussed his role in coming up with a novel concept for how the state could go after delinquent taxpayers on issues such as stereo equipment dealers and puppy mills. However, he said the state shouldn’t use taxes to address social issues. Commissioners also pressed him about mediations for Tax Court, and Swain said he’s in favor of that generally but that he doesn’t see ADR Rule 2.7(b)2 about lawyers having to be present at mediation applying to the Tax Court because the AG and governor must first sign off on any settlements.

Hon. Bruce Kolb
The Tax Court has had significant impact in the past, but he sees that impact growing as more tax disputes arise and as corporations and lawmakers study different tax areas that present issues of first impression. That should be examined, he said. Bruce Kolb also said the state’s inheritance tax areas do not have much caselaw. He talked about how his entire legal career has involved him working for the state, and his current role as Administrative Law Judge for both the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Department of Revenue. He said he hears commercial driver’s license cases, and 99 percent of those are pro se, so he makes those litigants feel at ease, explaining process and trying to answer any questions. He wants to look at and foster more on the area of pro se, and he also wondered why only one case from 2007 has been the only one in three years referred for mediation. One has to be careful not to create law and go beyond the statutes, as he said may have happened in the past. Studying his workload, Kolb said that in 28 instances he’s signed off on letters of findings in which he might have a conflict and he’d have to discuss those potential issues with the parties.

Marilyn Meighen
Marilyn Meighen has been helping to shape tax laws for most of her legal career and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to continue that path at a whole other level. She highlighted her experience second-chairing the case that “changed the world” in tax law - Town of St. John. Now being down in the trenches after leaving the Attorney General’s Office, Meighen said she has more flexibility in litigating and handling cases. Her work defending assessments might be perceived as a conflict, but she said her credibility is always on the line and she does a fair assessment of every case to make sure what’s being done is right. She thinks the Tax Court’s small-claims division needs to be examined more so that someone challenging their assessments shouldn’t have to hire an attorney. She noted that she respects Judge Fisher and the court, but has different perspectives on issues such as exemptions for property-tax cases being narrowly construed.



 

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  1. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  2. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  3. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  4. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  5. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

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