ISBA poll on judicial retention to be e-mailed

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A third of the Indiana Court of Appeals judges face retention this year, but before voters mark their ballots attorneys have a chance to say what they think about the five appellate judges who want to remain on the bench.

The Indiana State Bar Association’s Improvements in the Judicial System Committee is e-mailing its poll to its members. The first poll will go out Friday, with a second being released Sept. 24 and the third being sent Oct. 1.

This is a confidential “yes” or “no” survey of the attorneys throughout Indiana, and the ISBA said results will be released publicly in early October.

This is the second time attorneys will receive the poll by e-mail rather than traditional paper ballots; the first time was in 2008, when three Indiana Supreme Court justices, one Court of Appeals judge, and the Tax Court judge were up for retention. About 8,000 members were polled two years ago, and nearly 1,500 cast ballots, translating to an 18.5 percent response rate, which overwhelmingly supported the jurists.

“Lawyers are uniquely qualified to evaluate members of the judiciary because we work with the judges and follow their actions and decisions all the time,” said Roderick Morgan, ISBA president and a partner at Bingham McHale in Indianapolis. “The anonymous comment section on the ballot provides an opportunity to offer comments and constructive criticism to a judge subject to the retention vote. Those specific comments can help a judge understand exactly what lawyers feel about the judge’s performance.”

Those facing retention this year are:

- Judge L. Mark Bailey: a former Decatur County judge who was appointed to the appellate bench in 1998 and retained in 2000. He represents the First District, which includes southern Indiana.

- Judge Elaine B. Brown: served on the Dubois Superior Court for a total 15 years before Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed her to the appellate bench in May 2008. This is her first retention vote after being initially named to the court, and she represents the Fifth District that includes the entire state.

- Judge Cale J. Bradford: served for more than 10 years as a Marion Superior judge before the governor elevated him to the appellate bench Aug. 1, 2007. He represents the Second District, which includes the central part of the state.

- Judge Melissa S. May: a former 14-year insurance defense and personal injury attorney in Evansville who was appointed to the Court of Appeals in April 1998 and then retained in 2000. She represents the Fourth District that includes the entire state.

- Judge Margret G. Robb: who was appointed to the appeals court in July 1998 by then-Gov. Frank O’Bannon, after 20 years of general practice in Lafayette and service as a bankruptcy trustee for the Northern District of Indiana, as well as service as a mediator and deputy public defender. She serves for the Fifth District that includes the entire state.

Full biographical information about each judge, as well as links to their appellate decisions and general retention election information, is available on the state judiciary’s website at The new site went online in June and mirrors the one created in 2008 after Senate President Pro Temp David Long urged the judiciary to provide more information about the retention process to voters.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.