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IBA: Board Approves Judicial Reform Resolutions

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The Indianapolis Bar Association Board of Directors approved two resolutions related to the judicial system in Indiana at its July meeting on Friday, July 13.

The first resolution amended the purpose of the IndyBar’s Attorneys for an Impartial Bench (AIB) Standing Committee, which was converted to a standing committee from its status as a political action committee by a previous action during the board meeting.

AIB was created by a Board Resolution passed in 2010 in response to concerns raised by the U.S. Supreme Court Caperton decision addressing the issue of judicial campaigns and the appearance of impropriety that may arise as a result of attorney contributions. The stated purpose of AIB at that time was to receive and distribute voluntary contributions to judicial candidates for the Marion Circuit and Superior Courts, providing IndyBar members with an alternate method of supporting judicial campaigns.

Based on meetings conducted and input solicited from other interested parties, AIB Officers and its Executive Committee determined that the usefulness of AIB was much broader than the purpose approved at the time of its creation. Thus, it was recommended to the Board of Directors that AIB’s purpose be amended to include the broader goal of using AIB as a mechanism to truly achieve Attorneys for an Independent Bench by all manners approved by the IndyBar Board of Directors. This resolution was unanimously approved by the board. As a result of the amended purpose, AIB will no longer collect or distribute contributions.

The second resolution approved by the Board of Directors solidified the bar’s support of judicial elections issues reform, authorizing the President or selected designees to continue to advocate for needed reform to the Marion County judicial election and selection process.

The process by which the judiciary in Marion County is presently selected and/or elected has been the subject of ongoing criticism and controversy and has been studied by the IndyBar on several occasions. Historically, the IndyBar passed a Resolution on Merit Selection in 2005, authorizing a task force to facilitate a merit selection bill in the Indiana legislature. In 2009, the IndyBar conducted a survey in which 83.4 percent of members participating indicated that they favored a nonpartisan merit selection and retention election system in Marion County over the current slating and election system. Further, in 2010, AIB was formed as noted above.

Most recently, on April 11, 2012, the Judicial Qualifications Commission issued an opinion stating that the practice of imposing a slating fee on judicial candidates in Marion County was deemed to be in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct. As the approved resolution notes, “this practice is but one component of the system by which partisan politics influences the selection of the Marion County judiciary.”

As a result of this approved resolution, the bar will focus on facilitating dialogue related to both short- and long-term solutions designed to implement a better system for selecting Marion County judges, as well as seeking the repeal or reform of the current slating fee practice. All actions related to this effort will be subject to approval by the Board of Directors.•

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  1. Falk said “At this point, at this minute, we’ll savor this particular victory.” “It certainly is a historic week on this front,” Cockrum said. “What a delight ... “Happy Independence Day to the women of the state of Indiana,” WOW. So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)

  2. congratulations on such balanced journalism; I also love how fetus disposal affects women's health protection, as covered by Roe...

  3. It truly sickens me every time a case is compared to mine. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld my convictions based on a finding of “hidden threats.” The term “hidden threat” never appeared until the opinion in Brewington so I had no way of knowing I was on trial for making hidden threats because Dearborn County Prosecutor F Aaron Negangard argued the First Amendment didn't protect lies. Negangard convened a grand jury to investigate me for making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated” statements about court officials, not hidden threats of violence. My indictments and convictions were so vague, the Indiana Court of Appeals made no mention of hidden threats when they upheld my convictions. Despite my public defender’s closing arguments stating he was unsure of exactly what conduct the prosecution deemed to be unlawful, Rush found that my lawyer’s trial strategy waived my right to the fundamental error of being tried for criminal defamation because my lawyer employed a strategy that attempted to take advantage of Negangard's unconstitutional criminal defamation prosecution against me. Rush’s opinion stated the prosecution argued two grounds for conviction one constitutional and one not, however the constitutional true threat “argument” consistently of only a blanket reading of subsection 1 of the intimidation statute during closing arguments, making it impossible to build any kind of defense. Of course intent was impossible for my attorney to argue because my attorney, Rush County Chief Public Defender Bryan Barrett refused to meet with me prior to trial. The record is littered with examples of where I made my concerns known to the trial judge that I didn’t know the charges against me, I did not have access to evidence, all while my public defender refused to meet with me. Special Judge Brian Hill, from Rush Superior Court, refused to address the issue with my public defender and marched me to trial without access to evidence or an understanding of the indictments against me. Just recently the Indiana Public Access Counselor found that four over four years Judge Hill has erroneously denied access to the grand jury audio from my case, the most likely reason being the transcription of the grand jury proceedings omitted portions of the official audio record. The bottom line is any intimidation case involves an action or statement that is debatably a threat of physical violence. There were no such statements in my case. The Indiana Supreme Court took partial statements I made over a period of 41 months and literally connected them with dots… to give the appearance that the statements were made within the same timeframe and then claimed a person similarly situated would find the statements intimidating while intentionally leaving out surrounding contextual factors. Even holding the similarly situated test was to be used in my case, the prosecution argued that the only intent of my public writings was to subject the “victims” to ridicule and hatred so a similarly situated jury instruction wouldn't even have applied in my case. Chief Justice Rush wrote the opinion while Rush continued to sit on a committee with one of the alleged victims in my trial and one of the judges in my divorce, just as she'd done for the previous 7+ years. All of this information, including the recent PAC opinion against the Dearborn Superior Court II can be found on my blog www.danbrewington.blogspot.com.

  4. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  5. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

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