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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Ind. Courts - Are Marion County judges fungible, obviating any need to identify them by name in IndyStar stories?

It has often been said, including in this quote from a May 6, 2012 Indianapolis Star editorial, that the way judges are elected in Marion County means the voters in the general election have little say: "In other words, every Democratic and Republican judicial candidate who makes it on the ballot wins in November".

Reflecting that truth, the Sunday Star's front-page story today, headed "As violence rises, prosecutors bargain away gun charges," and reported by two of the paper's best reporters, Mark Alesia and Tim Evans, refers to "the judge" or "a judge" five times in the long story, with no further identification, although, at least in theory, the judge must sign off on a plea agreement and the judge imposes the sentence. One of the story's most egregious examples, where both the prosecutor and defendant are named:

At the sentencing hearing, the judge noted Allen was Tolbert's only son.

"You never want to bury your children, and that's what had to happen for the Allen family," the judge said. "I haven't endured that. I hope not to, and I hope no one has to, but it's clearly a tragic loss of life."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 5, 2014 02:10 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts