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IBA creates PAC option for judicial campaign donors

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After a landmark ruling from the nation’s highest court, the Indianapolis Bar Association has adopted an alternative to direct judicial campaign contributions for those interested in donating to candidates vying for the Marion County bench.

The IBA’s governing board unanimously approved a plan last week that gives attorneys an alternative method of supporting judicial campaigns while eliminating direct contact with any individual candidate they might one day appear before. The bar association formed a task force earlier this year to examine how it might address this topic following the Supreme Court of the United States ruling last summer in Caperton v. AT Massey Coal Co., Inc., 129 S. Ct. 2252, where the court examined how judges should recuse themselves when faced with litigants who’d donated to their judicial campaigns.

IBA members formed a Caperton Task Force to study this issue, and last week presented a plan to the board of governors for consideration. The plan calls for the creation of a political action committee named Attorneys for an Impartial Bench (AIB), and would be made up of donations from the county’s practicing bar that want to contribute to Marion Circuit and Superior candidates.

Since the county operates on a slating system for the primary and those individuals’ names are then placed on the November ballot, the AIB money would be distributed equally among all on the ballot following the primary and at least 30 days before the general election. The contributions aren’t earmarked for any specific candidates or any political affiliations, and “minimal” administrative costs would be taken out of the pooled contributions before the donation occurs.

“We believe this is an appropriate response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recognition of problems associated with campaign contributions to the judiciary,” said IBA president and task force member Christine Hickey, an attorney at Rubin & Levin. “We are attempting to fulfill the Bar’s responsibility to advance the fair and impartial administration of justice. The ongoing mission of the organized bar is to instill public trust and confidence in the judicial system.”

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Anthony Metz, who chaired the task force, said the three goals of the effort are to prevent the appearance that justice is for sale, to promote public confidence in the profession, and to provide attorney members with a choice for judicial campaign contributions.
 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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