Former Supreme Court Justice Calls For Changes In Wake Of Fundraising Flap

Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm has written an article for the IBJ saying that judges in Marion County should be appointed through a merit selection system rather than elected after a controversial fundraising solicitation was circulated among lawyers for Judge Becky Pierson-Treacy. Boehm called the elected system whereby judges are chosen in a closed door meeting by a handful of attorneys and power brokers of each political power "downright screwy." Boehm spoke to WRTV's Derrick Thomas about his views:

 "Just think how you'd feel if you are going into a court and the judge has the power to decide who gets custody of your children, and the lawyer from the other side has made a $1,000 contribution to the judge and your lawyer hasn't," Boehm told 6News' Derrik Thomas reported.
Thomas also spoke to former Marion Co. Superior Court Judge Gary Miller about the typical $12,000 slating fee candidates for judge pay to get the privilege of serving as a Marion County judge.

"It's very uncomfortable for judges. We go from being this very independent judicial officer, to being a very partisan, political creature," he said.
Naturally, Marion Co. GOP Chairman Kyle Walker thinks the current system is perfect.

 "What we have in Marion County is the best merit system. It's an endorsement process that has worked," he said. "Anytime you can put the opinions of hundreds of people over those 10 people (who slate candidates) that are handpicked by the governor and other folks, you're probably going to be better off."

Walker's suggestion that the opinions of hundreds of people go into the selection of the judges could not be further from the truth. Before precinct committee persons meet to choose judge candidate at a caucus, a small group of attorneys and power brokers have already decided who will be chosen. Most of the PCs who vote at the caucus are appointed by the county chairmen. Not surprisingly, they are typically government employees and government contractors beholden to the wishes of the party leaders.