Marion County Judge's Campaign Solicitation Questioned

Marion County has the most shameful and corrupt manner of electing judges in the country. Essentially, a handful of insider attorneys of each political party meet behind closed doors, hand pick the candidates to be slated as the respective party's candidates for the primary, and in the contested races for the general election, only one of the hand-picked candidates at most risks losing the election. Merit has absolutely nothing to do with the selection of the slated candidates. The only reason a judicial candidate needs to raise money for his or her campaign is to pay a "voluntary" slating fee. I use the term "voluntary" loosely because nobody who fails to pay the "voluntary" slating fee has a chance of being selected by their respective party to run in the general election. As bad as the system for selecting judges in Marion County is, apparently some judicial candidates aren't even responsible enough to solicit their campaign contributions with dignity or a sense of decorum.

Believe it or not, a sitting Marion County Superior Court judge, Becky Pierson-Treacy, wife of Marion Co. Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy, sent out a solicitation for a fundraiser to attorneys with different suggested levels of contributions. The least amount, $150, is designated as a "Sustained" contributor, while the highest contribution level, $1,000, is designated as a "Favorable Ruling" contributor. Each of the designations are terms used to describe favorable actions taken by the judge in her official capacity. The fundraiser is being hosted at the law firm of Linda Pence, the Democratic Party's 2008 candidate for Attorney General, and is co-hosted by Ice Miller lobbyist Lacy Johnson, Bose McKinney lobbyist Greg Hahn, Judge Treacy's campaign treasurer, and Judge Treacy's husband, Ed, who is a retired lobbyist for Bose McKinney. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, who first broke the story on his Indiana Barrister blog, has posted a copy of the invitation here.

WRTV's Derrick Thomas has a story on the controversial invitation. Former Marion County Superior Court Judge Gary Miller's reaction to the invitation pretty much sums up the sentiments of many in the legal profession. "It appears that there may be justice for sale," he said. "Those kind of things, even as a joke, are not to be done at the behest of a judge or the judge's campaign committee, and this flier would fly in the face of these rules." Judge Treacy and her husband are out of town on vacation, but she left it to her husband to respond to Thomas' request for a comment. "If you want to blame someone, blame me. It was not the best use of language," he said. Ed, incidentally, is the only one of the group responsible for the flier who is not an attorney and, therefore, cannot be disciplined for the misstep. Pence, who typically loves jumping in front of a TV camera to promote herself as a "Super Lawyer", refused to return Thomas' calls.

We can only hope that some day Marion County joins the civilized world and dumps this Byzantine system of choosing judges that only serves the interests of a handful of political insiders who are totally corrupting the judicial system which the rest of us are stuck dealing with on a daily basis.