Judicial candidacy appeal moving quickly

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The Indiana Supreme Court has refused to sidestep the state’s intermediate appellate court on a judicial election issue from Lake County, which involves a prospect for the bench being able to stay on the ballot.

Emergency requests with the state justices are being filed in the case of Michael Lambert v. William I Fine, No. 49A04-1009-PL00556, which stems from an Indiana Election Commission decision in early September that took Highland attorney and Lake Circuit candidate William Fine off the ballot for November’s general election. The four-member commission deadlocked and effectively found that the county Republican Party chair didn’t have the authority to appoint Fine as the Republican candidate for the Circuit seat opening at year’s end. That left voters with only one choice – Merrillville Town Judge George Paras who won the Democratic primary in May to replace retiring Lake Circuit Judge Lorenzo Arredondo.

A Marion County judge reversed that election commission decision on Sept. 13 and granted a temporary restraining order, and late last week issued a final order that stops the state from keeping Fine off the Nov. 2 ballot. Judge Keele noted that no basis in law exists to interpret state party rules in a way to override a statute and that the election commission doesn’t have the subject matter jurisdiction to endorse state party rules, let alone at the expense of a statutory grant of power to a county chair.

Fine’s challenger Michael Lambert, a local town council member who argues that a party caucus should have been held to choose the Republican candidate, filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals on Sept. 17. That same day he filed an emergency motion for the Supreme Court to take jurisdiction because of the public importance at issue.

Justices declined that initial request Tuesday, refusing to take the appeal away from the appellate court at this point. After Marion Superior Judge Michael Keele issued a final order on his earlier decision this month, Lambert filed a renewed motion for emergency jurisdiction under Appellate Rule 56(A) and that remained pending as of this morning. Fine’s legal team has filed a motion to dismiss.

Timing is important in this appeal as absentee ballots were mailed in mid-September, and the decisions in this case impact what choices voters have in deciding who the next Lake Circuit judge will be.


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  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?