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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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