Donations buying favorable rulings?

August 22, 2011
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Here’s another reason why judges shouldn’t be elected.

We were recently contacted regarding a fundraiser for Marion Superior Judge Becky Pierson-Treacy. A flyer advertising the event suggests contributions attendees can make, but it also implies that the judge can be bought.

Here’s exactly how it’s written:

Suggested Contributions:
$150 “Sustained”
$250 “Affirmed”
$500 “So Ordered”
$1,000 “Favorable Ruling”

I get that the organizers want to have a creative and legal-related way to categorize your donation amount, something different that “bronze, gold, or silver” but this really misses the mark.

Maybe a lawyer would think it’s clever, or maybe they would not. I bet most of the general public who saw the flyer would think this judge’s decision on a ruling could easily be swayed by a mere $1,000. I hope that wasn’t Judge Pierson-Treacy’s intent, or the intent of those who are hosting the event: Linda Pence, Lacy Johnson, and Greg Hahn. I would hope her husband, Ed Treacy, the Marion County Democratic chair, also doesn’t want people to think the judge can be bought.

Electing judges puts them in the tricky position of soliciting money for campaigns while maintaining impartiality. One would hope if someone wrote a “Favorable Ruling”-sized check that Judge Pierson-Treacy – or any judge receiving political donations – would remain impartial. (After news of this flyer hit other blogs and Indianapolis media and after I wrote this post, one news outlet reported that the September fundraiser was cancelled.)

It’s that time of the year when campaigns are holding fundraisers and soliciting donations. Have you received any other campaign material from judges up for election that you find questionable? What are your thoughts on Judge Pierson-Treacy’s committee’s choice of words describing contributions?

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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