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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Ind. Courts - South Bend Tribune editorial endorses Appeals Court Judges Michael P. Barnes, Paul D. Mathias and Nancy H. Vaidik

From the editorial, which was published Nov. 3rd:

Barnes, who was prosecutor for more than 20 years in St. Joseph County, is well-respected for his service here, including development of the CASIE Center for child victims of physical and/or sexual abuse and a domestic and family violence unit.

He, Mathias and Vaidik all met with the Editorial Board earlier this month and our members were impressed by the commitment all three have made to deal with their large caseload effectively and transparently. In addition, Vaidik is respected for her teaching, including an adjunct professorship at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law. Mathias focuses on improving court technology.

The 2012 Judicial Retention Poll of Indiana State Bar Association members overwhelmingly supports retaining each of the state judges up for a vote this year. This valuable evaluation is made by attorneys who work with the judges year in and year out.

See also this post from Oct. 16th, explaining that:
Judge Vaidik is the only COA judge up for retention whose district is statewide. Two 3rd District judges are up for retention, Judges Barnes and Mathias, but only the voters of that district get to vote on them. One 1st District judge is up, and again, those of us in the 2nd and 3rd Districts will not see Judge John Baker's name on our ballots.
The 3rd district is basically the top third of the state, the 2nd district is the middle, and the 1st district is a generous southern third. See map here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Posted to Indiana Courts

Ind. Courts - "Something’s fishy about how we pick Marion County judges"

This letter appears in the IndyStar "Letters to the Editor" today:

Thank you to the ACLU of Indiana and Common Cause for challenging our current system for selecting judges. The system allows the Republican and Democratic parties to hand-pick our judges. As troubling as this behavior should be, The Star article failed to expose the practice by the parties of requiring candidates to pay as much as $13,000 to be slated, essentially allowing the parties to sell judicial seats as a fundraiser. Those unwilling to pay this fee have little chance of election in the primary.

If this system truly selected the best candidates, it might be defensible on pragmatic grounds even if it is patently undemocratic. Unfortunately, this system also allows Ed Treacy, the Marion County Democratic Party chair, to “appoint” his wife, Becky Pierson Treacy, as judge despite her low approval rating of 30.7 percent by the Indianapolis Bar Association.

Perhaps this is why the ACLU is finally challenging this broken system. Marion County has some very good judges — Republican Robert Altice and Democrat Mark Stoner to name the highest rated by the Bar — but this happens despite this system rather than because of it.

Jim Mulholland

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Posted to Indiana Courts

Ind. Decisions - "Indiana BMV reinstates 4,000 drivers in proof-of-insurance case"

Updating yesterday's ILB entry, Kristine Guerra reports today in the Indianapolis Star in a long story that begins:

For eight long months, King McGraw did not have a driver’s license.

The BMV suspended the 27-year-old Indianapolis man’s license because he did not have proof of insurance. But McGraw was baffled. He didn’t need insurance, he said, because he has never owned a car.

“You’re not going to be paying insurance for a vehicle you don’t own,” McGraw said. “That’s just crazy.”

On Monday, McGraw and thousands of other Hoosiers got their driving rights back after the Bureau of Motor Vehicles agreed to stop using a state-mandated database to suspend the licenses of drivers without insurance.

The action came as the result of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, but the matter remains unsettled.

The BMV agreed to a stay in the lawsuit and may seek changes to the 2010 law that created the Previously Uninsured Motorist Registry.

The statewide database tracks down drivers who have had their licenses suspended at least once for driving without auto insurance. The law authorizes the BMV to randomly select people from the database and check if they had gained insurance. Not being able to show proof of insurance results in the suspension of their licenses.

But, according to the ACLU, the BMV should not demand proof of insurance from people who were not required to have insurance in the first place. It is against state law to drive without auto insurance, but providing proof of insurance is not required to obtain a driver’s license.

“If you’re not required to have insurance” to get a driver’s license, ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said, “you shouldn’t get your license suspended for not having insurance.”

In a lawsuit filed in June on behalf of Lourrinne White, another Indianapolis resident who lost her license, the ACLU alleges that the BMV did not issue rules to enforce the statute and that the agency violated state law and due process rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

ILB: Note that this is a separate case from the one referenced in this July 20, 2012 ILB entry.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions

Ind. Decisions - Tax Court posts two yesterday

Both are rulings by Sr. Judge Fisher.

Shelbyville MHPI, LLC v. Anne Thurston, in her official capacity as Assessor, Shelby County

Shelbyville MHPI, LLC (MHPI) appeals the final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review upholding the assessment of its real property for the 2006 tax year. The issue for the Court to decide is whether the Indiana Board erred in upholding the assessment. The Court affirms. * * *

The final determination in this case reveals that the Indiana Board, as an impartial adjudicator, accepted the parties’ evidentiary presentations, considered and weighed their quality, and ultimately concluded that the Assessor’s evidentiary presentation corroborated the assessment, which best reflected the market value-in-use of MHPI’s mobile home park. The Court finds no basis for reversing the Indiana Board’s conclusion and, therefore, its final determination is AFFIRMED.

Millennium Real Estate Investment, LLC v. Assessor, Benton County, Indiana
Millennium Real Estate Investment, LLC appeals the final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review upholding the assessments of its real property for the 2008 tax year. The Court affirms. * * *

Millennium’s sales comparison and income approach arguments merely invite this Court to reweigh the evidence; that task, however, is not within this Court’s prerogative on appeal absent an abuse of discretion. * * *

The Indiana Board’s final determination was neither arbitrary nor capricious; rather, it was supported by substantial and reliable evidence. Accordingly, the final determination of the Indiana Board is AFFIRMED.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions