Hoosier voters in November will decided whether seven Indiana appellate judges should retain their positions for the next 10 years.
Indiana Supreme Court Justice Christopher Goff, Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Cale Bradford and Court of Appeals Judges L. Mark Bailey, Melissa May, Margret Robb, Elaine Brown and Elizabeth Tavitas will be on the retention ballot in the 2020 general election.
Indiana law requires that appellate judges, once appointed, stand for retention in the first statewide general election after a judge has served two full years. After that, appellate judges are on the retention ballot every 10 years.
The Supreme Court’s Office of Judicial Administration has created a retention website, courts.in.gov/retention, with biographical information about each judge on the 2020 ballot, as well as video of oral arguments and a link to each judge’s written opinions.
Also, the Indiana State Bar Association will release the results of a yes/no retention survey of its members. Those results, when released later this year, will be available on the retention website.
Indiana appellate judges are appointed through a merit-based selection process. The Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission selects three finalists to fill appellate vacancies, and the governor makes the final selection.
Among this year’s retention candidates:
- Justice Goff was appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2017
- Chief Judge Bradford was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2007
- Judge Bailey was appointed by Gov. Frank O’Bannon in 1998
- Judge May was appointed by O’Bannon in 1998
- Judge Robb was appointed by O’Bannon in 1998
- Judge Brown was appointed by Daniels in 2008
- Judge Tavitas was appointed by Holcomb in 2018
According to the Supreme Court, “The retention system is designed to allow appellate judges to decide cases fairly and impartially, free from campaign finance considerations, and without influence by partisan politics.”
Holcomb is currently in the process of selecting the state’s next Court of Appeals judge, who will succeed now-Senior Judge John Baker. Last month, the JNC selected Vigo Superior Judge Lakshmi Reddy, New Albany attorney Lisa Reger and Lawrenceburg attorney Leanna Weissmann as the three finalists to succeed Baker.