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Legislator wants elected high court jurists

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One Indiana legislator wants to make changes to the state's highest court, including how the jurists are seated. Rep. Craig Fry, D-Mishawaka, is sponsoring a House Joint Resolution that would require Indiana Supreme Court justices be elected instead of appointed and retained.

HJR 9, new this year, proposes several changes to the Supreme Court. Other members of the high court would appoint the chief justice instead of the Judicial Nominating Commission. The governor would fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court with a judge from the Indiana Court of Appeals to serve out the remainder of the term. The number of justices would be capped at five as opposed to the current option for up to nine total justices.

Perhaps the biggest change suggested in the legislation is that the justices would be elected by the general public to a 6-year term. The General Assembly would divide Indiana into three districts, and one justice would be elected by the voters of those districts. Two justices would be elected by all voters statewide

The legislation comes at a time when several bar associations have spoken out in support for the continuance and expansion of merit-based selection of judges on the appellate and trial levels. In a Q&A with Indiana Lawyer in 2008, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justices Theodore Boehm and Brent Dickson spoke in favor of the current merit selection and retention system in Indiana, saying it attracts quality candidates and prevents the political fights common in other states.

Rep. Fry also has proposed House Bill 1491 which would require St. Joseph Superior Court judges to be elected as opposed to the current merit-based selection and retention system in place there.

HJR 9 was referred to the Committee on Courts and Criminal Code this week. The proposed amendment has to be voted up in two consecutive legislative sessions, and then ratified by a majority of the state's voters before it would become law.

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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

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