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Judge upholds New Castle mayor's election

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A special judge in Henry County has dismissed a challenge to the New Castle mayor’s election, finding that mayor-elect Greg York is able to become the city’s top executive because he didn’t violate the state’s residency requirement by keeping two homes and splitting where he spent his time.

In a decision Monday, Special Judge Linda Ralu Wolf in Henry Circuit Court upheld York’s election on Nov. 8 and found he can take office at the start of the year. The ruling came about a week after Wolf, a Delaware County judge, heard arguments as to whether York met residency requirements to be mayor because he owned a home just outside the city limits and split his time between that residence and a longtime home on 11th Street inside New Castle.

York obtained 75 percent of the general election vote, securing 2,655 votes compared to the 628 received by John Mark Nipp and 226 received by Debra Baker. Nipp chose to contest the results, arguing that York isn't a city resident and doesn't meet requirements to be mayor.

 But the special judge found that Nipp and his attorney, Jeffrey Bell, fell “far short” of meeting the burden of proof to demonstrate York isn’t an eligible city resident. She rejected the idea that voters had “thrown away” their votes by casting a ballot for York on Election Day.

"A more plausible inference from York's overwhelming electoral success is that the voters, having heard the evidence of York's residency in New Castle and the arguments over it, decided that the evidence of York's intent and conduct and his long and deep connections to the community showed that he was a lawful resident of New Castle and eligible to serve as their mayor," Wolf wrote.

Nothing in state law prohibits a person from owning more than one home and having to abandon another residence when they seek public office, she wrote. Evidence shows that York continued paying property taxes, voted using that address, and kept personal belongings at that 11th St. home.

This is one of many election-related challenges that have surfaced statewide in the past year focusing on Indiana’s residency requirement. That has been an issue in the court challenges involving Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White, who faces criminal charges relating to his voter registration at an address where he allegedly didn’t reside. Hamilton Superior Judge Steven Nation on Monday declined to dismiss the criminal case against White, and it continues along with the civil suit challenging White’s ability to hold office as a result of his voter registration information.

 

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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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