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IBA: Website to Provide Info About Appellate Judges on Retention Ballot

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Indiana’s Appellate Courts are once again providing voters with a simple avenue for learning about judges who are on the November retention ballot. A website has been created to help voters make informed decisions. The site is designed to give voters access to biographical information about the judges and details about the decisions they have made while serving on the bench. The website can be found at courts.IN.gov/retention.

In November, the following Court of Appeals Judges will appear on the retention ballot: L. Mark Bailey of the First District which includes southern Indiana, Elaine B. Brown of the Fifth District which includes the entire state, Cale J. Bradford of the Second District which includes central Indiana, Melissa S. May of the Fourth District which includes the entire state and Margret G. Robb of the Fifth District which includes the entire state.

The website is designed to be user-friendly with a number of ways for voters to learn about judges. Visitors to the site can watch appellate cases unfold first-hand. Oral argument video is webcast live and later archived. The retention website allows voters to watch those arguments. Voters can also search a database of judicial opinions. Opinions are the written decisions of a case and are available for citizens to read.

In 2008 the Appellate Courts developed a similar website after Senate President Pro Tempore David Long urged the judiciary to provide more information about the retention election to voters. Court of Appeals Judges Terry Crone and Cale Bradford (who were not on the 2008 ballot) coordinated the website creation. The Indiana Division of State Court Administration provided technical support.

Indiana selects appellate judges based on merit. The Judicial Nominating Commission interviews judicial applicants and provides the Governor with a list of three candidates. The Governor makes the final selection. Once appointed, after serving two years, a judge must stand for retention in the first general election. The voter is presented with the question “Should Justice (or Judge) Jane B. Jones be retained in office?” If the judge receives a majority of “yes” votes, the judge is retained. The judge is then on the retention ballot every 10 years.• 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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