Judicial elections

House panel advances Marion County judicial selection bill

January 26, 2017
Dave Stafford
Despite public concerns that a bill for choosing Indianapolis judges would reduce diversity on the bench, deprive Marion County residents of the right to directly elect jurists and elevate political considerations, a House committee Wednesday advanced a merit-selection measure supported by lawyers, judges and the business community.
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7th Circuit affirms decision not to hold special election for judges

September 22, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court’s decision not to order a special election for Marion County Superior judges after two candidates for judge said their names were unconstitutionally kept off of the general election ballot.
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Federal court: Disbarred lawyer can’t seek judgeship

August 10, 2016
Dave Stafford
A disbarred Goshen lawyer who wanted to run for judge of Elkhart Circuit Court got nowhere trying to convince a federal judge he was wrongly denied the opportunity.
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Award enables IU Maurer’s Geyh to serve alternative to debate over judicial selection

July 13, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Charles Geyh has been chosen as one of just 33 professors from universities from around the country for the prestigious 2016 Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program. He is believed to be the first from IU Maurer to receive the recognition.
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Lawmakers punt Marion County judge-selection bill to next year

March 11, 2016
Hayleigh Colombo, Indianapolis Business Journal
Indiana lawmakers were unable to come to an agreement on how to select Marion County Superior Court judges by the end of the legislative session on Thursday night and punted the decision until next year.
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Marion County Bar Association opposes judicial selection bill

March 8, 2016
Dave Stafford
Lawmakers are working to craft an 11th-hour agreement on how judges should be chosen in Marion County after they were unable to reach a compromise Monday. Meanwhile, Indianapolis’ historically black bar association called for direct election of judges instead of a proposed merit-selection system.
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Indy judge selection bill set for Wednesday hearing

January 26, 2016
Dave Stafford
A proposed merit-selection plan giving state lawmakers a strong hand in the nomination and appointment of Marion Superior judges will be introduced Wednesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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Marion County judicial selection now in lawmakers’ lap

January 13, 2016
Hayleigh Colombo, Indianapolis Business Journal
A federal appeals court rocked the Marion County court system last fall when it quashed its unusual judicial election process, saying it burdened the right to cast a meaningful vote. Now the court’s fate is in the hands of lawmakers, who will get a crack at replacing the election system the federal judges ruled unconstitutional.
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Vacancy opens up on St. Joseph County bench

November 20, 2015
IL Staff
St. Joseph Superior Judge Jerome Frese is retiring early next year, opening up a spot on the bench. The St. Joseph County Judicial Nominating Commission will hold interviews with candidates in late December.
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Judicial campaign solicitation ban upheld by SCOTUS

April 30, 2015
 Bloomberg News
A divided Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states can bar judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions, leaving intact bans in 30 states.
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Judging how Indy elects judges

April 8, 2015
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posed tough questions for the state’s defense of the pay-to-play, power-sharing system of judicial slating in Marion County.
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7th Circuit grills state over Indy judge election system

April 2, 2015
Dave Stafford
As Indiana endured the harsh national glare from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act controversy this week, Indianapolis’ pay-to-play, power-sharing system for electing Marion Superior Court judges was on trial in Chicago.
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Democrats push to be on Marion County judge ballot

October 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
Marion County Superior judge elections ruled unconstitutional this month should not proceed Nov. 4 as the current ballot is drawn, according to court pleadings from candidates who were left out of the general election.
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Lawmakers in no rush to fix Marion County’s judicial selection process

October 22, 2014
Dave Stafford
Marion County’s unique power-sharing judicial-election system won’t be fixed anytime soon, even though a federal judge has ruled the four-decade-old system is unconstitutional.
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State appeals ruling invalidating Marion County judicial election law

October 20, 2014
Dave Stafford
The state is appealing a federal judge’s ruling this month declaring Marion County’s Superior judicial election statute unconstitutional.
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Judge finds Marion County judicial election system unconstitutional

October 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge in Indianapolis has ruled that the statute outlining how Marion Superior judges are elected is unconstitutional. Because a stay has been issued, the ruling will not impact next month’s election.
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Judge sets January hearing in Marion County judicial slating suit

December 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal judge has summoned attorneys for Gov. Mike Pence, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and members of the Indiana Election Commission to a pretrial conference in a lawsuit challenging the way Marion Superior judges are elected.
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Judge rejects interlocutory appeal in Marion Superior judiciary challenge

November 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal judge has denied the state of Indiana’s motion for an interlocutory appeal, signaling that a trial probably won’t be needed in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of how Marion Superior judges are elected.
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Judicial candidate barred from office for 5 years

May 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The attorney who made statements regarding Franklin Circuit Judge Steven Cox’s release of a prisoner during the time she was challenging him for his spot on the bench last fall cannot seek judicial office for five years, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The justices also publicly reprimanded Tammy R. Davis of Brookville.
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Governor, Election Commission now defendants in Marion County election case

January 7, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal suit that challenges the constitutionality of Marion County judicial elections has been amended to name the governor and members of the Indiana Election Commission as defendants.
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2012 Year in Review

January 2, 2013
IL Staff
2012 was another busy year for the legal community. We welcomed new justices and a new chief justice, witnessed the beginnings of the state’s fifth law school, and saw local stories garner national and international attention. Here’s a look back at the top news stories from last year.
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Candidate facing charges from JQC loses election

November 7, 2012
IL Staff
Tammy R. Davis, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Judge Steven J. Cox of Franklin Circuit Court, appears to have lost her bid to take over Cox’s spot on the bench. According to unofficial numbers from the Indiana Secretary of State’s office Wednesday morning, Davis received around 4,500 votes; Cox received nearly 6,000 votes.
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Common Cause, ACLU sue over Marion County judge slating

November 2, 2012
Dave Stafford
The way Marion Superior judges are elected is unconstitutional, a suit filed Thursday by Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana alleges.
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Opponent's claims against judge regarding killer result in disciplinary charges

October 26, 2012
Dave Stafford
The woman challenging Franklin Circuit Judge Steven Cox for his job faces seven disciplinary charges over statements attributed to her about the judge’s release of a prisoner who a year later killed five people, according to a statement Friday from the Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission. The commission has asked for a public hearing on the charges.
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ISBA members approve of appellate judges up for retention

October 16, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana State Bar Association has released results of its 2012 Judicial Retention Poll. None of the six appellate judges up for retention in the Indiana Supreme Court or Court of Appeals received less than 81 percent of “yes” votes.
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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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