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Governor, Election Commission now defendants in Marion County election case

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A federal suit that challenges the constitutionality of Marion County judicial elections has been amended to name the governor and members of the Indiana Election Commission as defendants.

Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana have amended their complaint that seeks a hearing on an injunction against enforcement of Indiana Code 33-33-49-13. The amended complaint in Common Cause v. Indiana Secretary of State, 1:12-CV-1603, was filed Thursday in the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

The complaint was amended after the state filed a motion to dismiss, claiming the complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted and is barred by the 11th Amendment. The state also claims that the secretary of state is powerless to enforce the law in question.

Common Cause in its complaint filed in November said the law setting forth the process for electing Marion Superior judges is “unique in Indiana, and perhaps in the nation.”

State law permits Democratic and Republican parties to conduct primary elections to fill exactly half of the judicial seats, “which renders the general election a mere formality,” according to a statement from ACLU of Indiana. Each party “slates” 10 candidates before the primary for 10 judicial vacancies allotted to each party. Voters in the general election then choose up to 20 judges of the 20 on the ballot.

The process of “slating” of Marion County Superior judicial races has drawn criticism, since each candidate who earned the party’s endorsement on the primary ballot contributed identical amounts to the local party before each party’s slating convention preceding the primary. For Democrats, the contribution was $13,100; for Republicans, it was $12,000, according to a review of campaign contributions earlier this year by Indiana Lawyer.

No hearing has been set in the matter.

 

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  • Slating?
    I think there needs to be a correction. I believe the lawsuit only challenges the process by which the Democrats nominate half the judges and the Republicans nominate half and everyone is elected in the fall, leaving voters without a choice. I don't believe the lawsuit challenges slating at all. Slating is a separate matter from the issue raised in the lawsuit.

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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