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Governor: Mark Massa 'superb choice' for Supreme Court

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On Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard's final day as a member of the Indiana Supreme Court, Gov. Mitch Daniels named Mark S. Massa, a former state and federal prosecutor, as the state’s newest justice.

Daniels chose Massa, director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, on March 23 over Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Cale Bradford and Indiana Judicial Center Executive Director Jane A. Seigel. His selection came exactly one month after the three finalists had been chosen for his consideration.

Describing his pick as a superb selection and the finest choice he could have made, Daniels said he was impressed by Massa’s background and experience with all three branches of government as well as multiple aspects of legal practice. He has the merit, principle and temperament to be a great justice and make his own historical contributions on “America’s best Supreme Court,” the governor said.

A 1989 graduate of Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Massa, who turned 51 on March 6, has led the Criminal Justice Institute since May 2011 and served as the governor’s general counsel from 2006 to 2010 before making an unsuccessful run for Marion County prosecutor and temporarily chairing the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.

Massa served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District from 2002 to 2005, where he oversaw criminal investigations and led a task force to combat mortgage fraud. Before that, he worked as chief counsel and a deputy prosecutor in the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for about seven years.

Early in his career, Massa trained under Shepard as his law clerk.

“This is a sobering responsibility, and I can’t put into words how much it means to be appointed by my governor to replace my judge,” Massa said. “It’s not something any attorney does, looking in the mirror and seeing a potential Supreme Court justice staring back. This is going to take a while to get used to.”

In a statement, Shepard said that Massa has the character, mental power and generosity of heart to serve in ways that will make Indiana a place of greater justice.

The governor said that the fact Massa previously served as his general counsel may have actually worked against him as a candidate, because he was so familiar with Massa that he overlooked what the legal community thought about him. Daniels said he was moved by the evidence and testimony in support of Massa.

No start date has been scheduled, Massa said, but he will begin winding down his work at the criminal justice institute while immediately transitioning to the court to begin getting familiar with the new job.

Massa joins Justices Steven David, Brent Dickson, Robert Rucker and Frank Sullivan on the Supreme Court. Indiana remains one of only three states without a female on the Supreme Court bench; the other two are Idaho and Iowa.

With Massa chosen, the Judicial Nominating Commission will be able to move forward with the process for appointing a new chief justice to a five-year term to succeed Shepard. All five justices will have the opportunity to be considered for that position. Dickson is serving as acting chief justice until that decision is made.

Dickson said Friday that a decision was made to let the new justice “get settled” on the court before moving ahead with chief justice appointment. He said the commission likely won’t make a chief justice appointment before the process begins to replace Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Carr Darden, who is retiring in July.

 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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