The Indiana Tax Court logo symbolizes what will remain the same next year, even though the only person who’s ever presided on that appellate bench will change for the first time since that court was created more than a quarter century ago.
Tax Judge Thomas G. Fisher announced Aug. 12 that he plans to retire at year’s end, culminating a 45-year legal career that will have encompassed 24 years on the appellate tax bench and given him a chance to decide more than 800 cases. At age 70, the longtime judge is nearing the mandatory retirement age of 75 for state appellate judges.
Now, the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission is deciding who will succeed Judge Fisher and become Indiana’s next Tax Court judge. The seven-member commission chaired by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard has conducted its first round of interviews with the 14 vying for the spot. The commission will ultimately choose three names to send to Gov. Mitch Daniels to make the final decision.
Those interested in the appellate seat had to submit applications by Sept. 20, and six women and nine men had applied. However, Noblesville attorney Richard Hofmann, tax director of RedCats USA, withdrew his name from consideration Sept. 24 and wasn’t interviewed.
The initial applicants were:
• George Angelone, an Indianapolis attorney with Legislative Services Agency who was admitted to practice in 1976.
• Michelle L. Baldwin, a Fishers attorney with Baldwin Legal Services who began practicing in 2001.
• Dan Carwile, a longtime banking attorney who is senior vice president with Old National Wealth Management in Evansville. He was admitted to practice in 1983. Carwile has been inactive but in good standing as of Sept. 13, according to the Roll of Attorneys.
• Hon. Carol Comer, an administrative law judge with the state Board of Tax Review who was admitted to practice in 1996.
• Thomas Ewbank, a partner in the Carmel office of Krieg DeVault who was admitted in 1969.
• Joby Jerrells, a deputy prosecutor with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and a self-employed attorney in Bloomington who is a second-career attorney admitted in 2003.
• Hon. Bruce Kolb of Fishers, an administrative law judge with the Indiana Department of Revenue who was admitted in 1990.
• Hon. Karen Love, a Hendricks Superior judge from Lizton who was admitted to the bar in 1986.
• Marilyn Meighen, a principal at Meighen & Associates in Carmel who began practicing in 1977.
• Joseph Pearman, a solo practitioner in Carmel who began practicing in 1993.
• Randle Pollard, a solo practitioner in Indianapolis and an associate professor at the Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, Penn., who started practicing in Indiana in 2004 but practiced outside the state prior to that.
• Melony Sacopulos, general counsel at Indiana State University in Terre Haute who has been practicing since 1988.
• Andrew Swain of Fishers, chief counsel for the Revenue Division in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office who was admitted to practice in 1988.
• Martha Wentworth, tax director at the Greenwood-based multistate group Deloitte Tax LLP who was admitted in 1990.
First interviews were Sept. 27, and after IL deadline for this story, the commission that includes three lawyers and three governor-appointed non-attorneys narrowed that list of 14 to a group of semi-finalists who will return for second interviews Oct. 27. Expanded coverage can be found online at the Indiana Lawyer’s website, theindianalawyer.com.•