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Judicial candidates lose elections

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

Two judicial candidates who’d faced Indiana Election Commission challenges earlier this year about their names even appearing on the ballot made it to the general election, but ended up losing the races and not getting to the bench in Lake and Allen counties.

In Allen County, incumbent Superior Judge Kenneth Scheibenberger lost the election for the seat he’s held for 19 years. He was defeated by attorney Wendy Davis. Opponents had tried to get the judge removed from the ballot in September on the grounds that he’d previously been disciplined by the Indiana Supreme Court, but the Indiana Election Commission refused to remove him based on language of state statute – finding that it only applied to attorney judicial prospects, not incumbent judges.

Meanwhile in Lake County, Highland attorney William I. Fine lost his bid for the Circuit bench to succeed retiring Judge Lorenzo Arredondo. The Republican candidate lost to Democratic challenger George C. Paras, who had been the only person on the ballot following the primary election in May. No Republicans ran in the primary and Paras was the sole name on the ballot until the county’s Republican Party chair appointed Fine as the candidate. But a Lake County town official challenged that appointment, saying the chair should have held a caucus and chosen someone that way party rules dictate.

The state election commission split on whether that was permissible, and as a result Fine was removed from the ballot. But Marion Superior Judge Michael Keele overturned that commission decision and put him back on the ballot in September. The Indiana Supreme Court refused to take the case before the Court of Appeals had a chance to rule on it, and the lower appellate court declined to speed up its review of the case before the election.

Though the election is now over and Fine’s candidacy is effectively moot, Crown Point attorney Michael Back who represents the challenger Michael Lambert said it may continue because the issue is broader than Fine’s election loss and goes to whether the party chair is allowed to appoint a judicial candidate rather than holding a caucus.

Rehearing "Candidacy issues in Allen, Lake counties" IL Sept. 15-28, 2010

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

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