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Indy mayor wins redistricting battle

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The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard Wednesday in a dispute between the mayor and Democratic members of the city-county council who challenged a redistricting plan passed in late 2011.

In the fall of 2011, the Marion County City-County Council, which had a Republican majority, voted to approve a proposal creating Ordinance 61. That ordinance redrew the 25 districts for elections to the council beginning in 2015. Ballard signed the ordinance Jan. 1, 2012.

The ordinance was approved before a Democratic majority would take hold in the City-County Council beginning Jan. 1, 2012. Democratic Councilor Maggie Lewis filed a lawsuit against the Marion County Election Board, arguing that the ordinance failed to comply with I.C. 36-3-4-3, the county’s Redistricting Statute.

The dispute went before a divided panel of trial court judges, who held that the ordinance was passed too early to satisfy the Redistricting Statue. The judges drew new legislative districts and ordered Lewis and Ballard to equally split the cost of the master who was brought in to issue the final judgment.

The justices, in the per curiam decision, noted that both sides presented reasonable arguments about how the Redistricting Statute should be construed, and in particular, whether Ordinance 61 constitutes mandatory redistricting in 2012. The justices determined that it would be proper, as a matter of judicial restraint, to adopt the interpretation that avoids judicial line-drawing in what “is presumptively a matter for the legislative and executive branches of local government to address.”

“While recognizing Ordinance 61 as mandatory redistricting is just one reasonable construction of the Redistricting Statute, we adopt it because it allows legislatively adopted districts to remain in place and avoids the need for districts drawn by a court,” the opinion states.

The justices also noted that the disputed legal issue in this case is whether the City-County Council acted too early, but there is no allegation that the ordinance was substantively defective.

In addition to ordering summary judgment be entered in favor of Ballard, the justices reversed any order requiring him to pay part of the cost of the master.

The case is Mayor Gregory Ballard v. Maggie Lewis, John Barth, and Vernon Brown, 49S00-1311-PL-716.

 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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