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Friday, January 10, 2014

Ind. Courts - Marion County Superior Court elections and Judge Brown - Some questions [Updated]

I'm having trouble with this post, here is what I have so far ...

A declaration of candidacy for primary nomination form in 2014 must be filed no later than NOON, February 7, 2014, and no earlier than January 8, 2014.

The Marion County Superior Court is comprised of 36 elected judges. Judges are elected for 6 year terms. Under IC 33-33-49-13(b):

(b) At the primary election held in 2008 and every six (6) years thereafter, a political party may nominate not more than eight (8) candidates for judge of the court. At the primary election held in 2006 and every six (6) years thereafter, a political party may nominate not more than ten (10) candidates for judge of the court. The candidates shall be voted on at the general election. Other candidates may qualify under IC 3-8-6 to be voted on at the general election.
In other words: (1) the terms are staggered, with 8 Democratic candidates and 8 Republican candidates to be nominated in a primary election in 2014. (2) "Other candidates" may qualify under IC 3-8-6, "Nomination by Petition for Independent or Minor Political Party Candidates."

First problem/question - I don't see how the "filing" and the slating fit together. Isn't the declaration of candidacy "filing"?

Next, I'm told:

I've also been told:
Democrats are requiring everyone who is going through slating to file. Then, they are requiring everyone that is going through slating to fill out a withdrawal form and sign it. After slating, the party supposedly would take the losing endorsement seekers’ withdrawal form to Sec of State’s office to have them removed from the ballot.
I'd also like a post the names of the current judges of each party who are up for re-election this year. Are there any addition vacancies, and if so, how will they be filled. Would Judge Kimberly Brown be up for reelection this year - i.e. does her current turm end in 2014?

[Update #1] I've received this additional information re the Democratic judgeships:

Filing for office opened on January 8th and closes on February 7th. The Democratic slating convention is February 8th which means they have to file for the office before slating. If you lose, you have until noon on February 10th to withdraw. You have until January 30th to file for slating.

There are eight positions to be filled thus there are eight slots, with a slot named for each of the five incumbents. No one has filed in any of the incumbents' spots except Kim Brown's spot (she has not filed for slating yet - no one knows whether she intends to seek re-election and she is not required to go through slating).

Here is the breakdown:

Kim Brown's slot: Commissioner Shatreese Flowers v. Magistrate Mark Jones

Slot 6: Angela Davis - no opponent as of yet (I doubt she will have one)

Slot 7: Karen Celestino-Horseman v. Commissioner Christina Klineman

Slot 8: Marcel Pratt v. Todd Woodmansee

The Republicans only have one slot and they go about it a bit differently. A committee makes recommendations on who the precinct people should vote for.

[Update #2] I've received this comment:
Slating guarantees you nothing – no more than the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Assoc endorsement does or the FOP PAC endorsement does. It is not a statutory animal. It is a group, in this case political parties, that has decided to 1) review, gather, and select who they want to support in the primary, and then 2) go out and work to make that preference a reality.

Because it has worked so well, many think that it is a statutory system. It is not – it is a group process that has been effective in making their own wishes come true.

[Clarification from the Commenter]: Should have been more clear – when I wrote, “because it has worked so well”, I meant their endorsements have rarely been beaten at the ballot. The parties have backed up what they have done. They have carried, mostly, those they have supported in the primary – NOT that those choices or endorsements were of the best candidates or most qualified.

[Update #3] A reader disagrees with the last sentence of Comment #1:
An on the Republican side, a committee does NOT make a recc on who the precinct people should vote, or at least, has not in years. In the more recent past, a committee has been used to vet the backgrounds of candidates seeking the endorsement of the Republican organization. Those background searches included criminal background searches, credit histories, etc. In effect, they were looking for skeletons. The committee then made a recommendation on whether the person was ‘qualified’ or ‘not qualified’. To my knowledge, no candidate seeking their endorsement has ever been deemed ‘not qualified’ as it is a minimum threshold test. So, all the candidates could potentially be determined to be qualified even though there would be less openings than candidates.
[Update #4] Details on the Republican judgeships:
Republican candidates this year:

Incumbents running for re-election and their current assignments:

Cynthia Ayers (Civil 4)
David Certo (Community Court and Environmental Court)
Kurt Eisgruber (Criminal 1)
Gary Miller (DV Court)
Marilyn Moores (Juvenile Court)
Tim Oakes (Civil 13)
Marc Rothenberg (Criminal 2)

Not Running/Retiring:

Ted Sosin (Civil 2)

Others Running:

P.J. Dietrick
Rom Byrom

[Update #5] More from a reader correcting/answering my original post:
First, Democrats are not required to complete a withdrawal to participate in slating. Each candidate decides if he or she wants to proceed after January 8th.

Second, there is filing to be a candidate and then there is filing to be a participant in the slating convention. The slating process is the party process. To be a candidate on the ballot, you file a declaration of candidacy with the Secretary of State. To be a participant in the slating process, you enter an agreement with the party.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 10, 2014 01:36 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts