Donations buying favorable rulings?

August 22, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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?

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

ADVERTISEMENT