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. 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.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

ADVERTISEMENT