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Judicial candidate put back on ballot

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

A Highland attorney is back on the ballot for a Lake Circuit judge opening after he received a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that say the Indiana Election Commission shouldn’t have removed his name as a candidate for the general election.

Marion Superior Judge Michael Keele on Sept. 13 and 23 granted both the restraining order and preliminary injunction putting judicial prospect William I. Fine back on the Nov. 2 ballot. Fine is the Republican candidate for the seat being vacated at year’s end once Lake Circuit Judge Lorenzo Arredondo retires. Merrillville Town Judge George Paras won the Democratic primary in May. No Republican was on the primary ballot, so county party chair Kim Krull in June named Fine to fill that vacancy.

But some questioned his candidacy based on the party chair’s ability to name a candidate herself rather than conducting a caucus as the party rules stipulate. On Sept. 2, the four-member Indiana Election Commission couldn’t reach a decision and deadlocked with a 2-2 vote, meaning Fine was removed from the ballot unless a court action said otherwise.

At that hearing, Fine’s counsel wanted the commission to deny the challenge outright because they didn’t believe the state board had jurisdiction to decide the matter because it was a party-rule issue. An attorney for Michael Lambert – one of several people who are challenging how Fine was chosen – questioned the Republican Party rules and state statute allowing that to happen without a party caucus.

Represented by Indianapolis attorney David Brooks, Fine appealed in Marion County where the state commission is based. Judge Keele granted the order because absentee ballots needed to go out in mid-September and this litigation could put Fine in danger of not being included on the ballot.

Specifically, Judge Keele noted in his TRO ruling 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.

At the Sept. 23 hearing, Fine said that Judge Keele granted the preliminary injunction and planned to issue a written ruling once the parties submitted their proposed findings.

Lambert – a Winfield Town Council at-large member who wanted a party caucus to give others a chance to be on the ballot – filed a notice of appeal Sept. 17 and that remained pending as of IL deadline. That appellate case is Lambert v. Fine, No. 49A04-1009-PL-00556.
 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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