Because an untold number of attorneys eligible to vote for a lawyer member of the Judicial Nominating Commission didn’t receive ballots in the mail, the voting deadline has been extended.
The Indiana Supreme Court posted an order dated Nov. 12 that extended the balloting deadline from 4 p.m. Nov. 19 to 4 p.m. Dec. 3. More than 7,400 attorneys in Court of Appeals District 2 are eligible to vote for Barnes & Thornburg LLP partner Jan Carroll or Cline Farrell Christie & Lee partner Lee Christie, but after ballots were mailed late last month, it became apparent many lawyers didn’t receive them.
The order signed by Chief Justice Brent Dickson sheds little light on what happened or why. “During the week of Nov. 4, 2013, it came to the Clerk and the Court’s attention that while most eligible electors had received their ballots and accompanying materials through the mail, many had not,” the order says. “After further investigation, the Clerk determined that an unidentified issue with the delivery of the mail had caused an unknown number of ballots and accompanying materials not to be delivered to eligible voters.”
Carroll and Christie are vying to succeed Indianapolis attorney William Winingham, of Wilson Kehoe Winingham, whose three-year term on the commission expires Dec. 31. Attorney members may not be elected to consecutive terms.
Members elected or appointed to the board from this point forward will influence the future makeup of Indiana Supreme Court. Members serve three-year terms, and Dickson will turn 75 and face mandatory retirement in 2016.
The commission’s three attorney members are elected by lawyers in each of the three geographical COA districts, and three governor-appointed non-lawyer members also are selected from each of those districts. Dickson chairs the panel, which interviews and recommends finalists for vacancies on the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Tax Court, from which the governor chooses appointees.
The commission members also serve as the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, which investigates complaints against judges.
Eligible voters are attorneys in good standing in the following counties: Adams, Blackford, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Delaware, Grant, Hamilton, Howard, Huntington, Jay, Madison, Marion, Miami, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Wabash, Wells and White.
Look for more coverage of the Judicial Nominating Commission election in the Nov. 20 issue of Indiana Lawyer.