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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Vacancy On Supreme Court 2017 - Round 2: Report On Interview #11, Hon. Steven L. Hostetler

This is Prof. Joel Schumm's report on the 11th (and final) interview of Round 2

Hon. Steven L. Hostetler, St. Joseph Superior Court (photo) (application) (first interview)

In response to a question about how he dispenses justice, Judge Hostetler said he remembers the Golden Rule and keeps in mind the principles of Article 1, Section 1, that all power belongs to the people, and keeping mind we are dealing with real people.

In response to a question about the Rooney Rule and diversity, Judge Hostetler said it is important to reach out to others, noting an upcoming speaking engagement where he will encourage people from diverse backgrounds to apply to be judges and provide them his phone number and future assistance, noting his experience with merit selection both at the county and state level.

In response to a question about whether the preamble to the Indiana Constitution was being achieved, Judge Hostetler noted “we can always do more” and the challenges of the “big five”: domestic violence, child abuse, mental health, veterans, and substance abuse.

When asked about legacy, Judge Hostetler would like to be remembered as someone cared about the big problems facing Indiana and came up with innovative ways to address them.

In response to a question about a procedural rule he would like to see changed, Judge Hostetler mentioned the “lazy judge rule” (Trial Rule 53) but then suggested discovery rules should be examined to “right-size” cases and make sure they are on the right path.

In response to a question about judicial restraint, Judge Hostler said it is a “fundamental pillar” of his philosophy and cited his opinion in the ESPN case. Judicial restraint does not mean abdicating the judicial role to decide cases and interpret statutes.

Judge Young commented on the inclusion of the Article 1, Section 12, as the first page of Judge Hostetler’s application. Judge Hostetler said it is a big part of the commitment when he took the bench and had a larger version posted outside his courtroom.

In response to a question about reviewing administrative decisions, Judge Hostetler said he agreed it should not be applied when a fundamental principle is involved but judges must provide appropriate oversight.

Judge Hostetler said two types of cases keep him up at night: (1) those involving child abuse and (2) cases from his Veteran’s Court, discussing challenges of dual diagnosis.

In response to a question about unified county courts and the possibility of regional courts, Judge Hostetler emphasized competing interests: a balanced caseload and helping citizens on one hand and ensuring those who elect their judges are served by their judges. He does not find fault in the way other counties elect their judges and noted the importance of flexibility in addressing uneven caseloads.

In response to a question about professional regrets, Judge Hostetler said he wife commented he could have pursued a judicial career earlier but he has no regrets.

When asked about his preparation, Judge Hostetler noted this was his “fourth” and he is a very prepared person. He did not review cases in preparation of this interview; he reviews them every week. He tries to be himself and understand things that are going to be important to the Commission and convey his thoughts in a way relevant to their concerns.

Mr. Young read from Ponce v. State (Ind. 2014), noting the importance of interpreters and asked about Judge Hostetler learning Spanish. Judge Hostetler’s goal is not to be able to carry on a conversation in court in Spanish but should know enough to understand something was wrong in that case. He said the opinion is “so wonderful” as an example of legal writing by using “unassailable logic to reach the morally irresistible conclusion” in only fourteen paragraphs.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 19, 2017 12:04 PM
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Court - 2017