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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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