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Governor likely to soon get St. Joe judges bill

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Gov. Mitch Daniels will likely receive legislation today aimed primarily at scrapping judicial merit selection in St. Joseph County and creating a new Indiana Court of Appeals panel starting 2011.

After about a week's worth of negotiating on the legislation, a four-person conference committee filed a report Tuesday evening on House Bill 1491, legislation that would change how St. Joseph Superior judges are chosen. The county switched to merit selection in 1973. The bill would put in place a non-partisan election system where voters would choose the judges for a six-year term, and bill author Rep. Craig Fry, R-Mishawka, said the top two primary candidates would be put on the general election ballot in November.

The bill would also create a sixth Court of Appeals panel starting in mid-2011 -- the Senate-approved bill called for that panel to begin Jan. 1, 2011, but the conference committee agreed to push that back to July 1, 2011 so it won't impact the next two-year budget. During the conference committee, lawmakers also made it clear that the bill's provision capping and restricting judicial campaign contributions at $10,000 "from all sources" would not apply to individuals -- something legislators aren't allowed to restrict.

This bill also adds language about court interlocal agreements, which was originally entailed in House Bill 1703 but died without a Senate vote this session.

House conferees were Fry and Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Elkhart, and Senate conferees were Sens. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, and Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte. Technical advisors were Reps. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington; Charlie Brown, D-Gary; Ralph Foley, R-Martinsville; and Eric Koch, R-Bedford; and Sens. Richard Bray, R-Martinsville and Tim Lanane, D-Anderson.

Lawmakers were scheduled to approve that compromise bill today - the final day of the regular legislative session - and forward it to the governor for consideration. An online bill-watch tool set up by the governor's office shows that Gov. Daniels hadn't received HB 1491 by early afternoon.

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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