I write to challenge the Indiana Lawyer’s disparagement of the Marion County unique hybrid method of trial judge selection. The Superior Court reorganization, finally passed in 1976, was the result of a three-year effort by a diverse group of lawyers.
The group wanted to stop the wipeout of trial judges in winner take all general elections, but did not want to isolate trial judges from the public they serve. Both political parties accepted the concept of a split Republican/Democrat trial bench, and the reorganization statute was crafted to be able to pass the legislature and operate in multi-court urban area for both civil and criminal trial courts.
The statute has been amended and courts have been added to keep up with the increasing workload. Practicing lawyers or judges always pushed for the changes. Who can know better how to run the Marion County trial courts than those who work there?
The present system has served the public and worked well for 35 years. It has brought stability to the trial courts. It has attracted good trial judges. It has made individual judges cooperate in General Term.
Don’t be so quick to criticize thirty-five years of success!
Douglass R. Shortridge
President 1974, Indianapolis Bar Association