ILNews

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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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