Marion Superior Court

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 352, sponsored by Rep. Frizzell and Rep. DeLaney, establishing the Marion County judicial selection committee to appoint and nominate judges for the Marion superior court. It also provides that judges of the Marion superior court will be initially appointed by the Marion County judicial selection committee and may be retained in office thereafter by vote of the electorate.

Rep. Steuerwald’s amendment, adopted by consent, creates a 14-member judicial nominating committee made up of four attorneys appointed by the legislators, representatives from the Marion County Bar Association, Indianapolis Bar Association, Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, as well as the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. In order for a nominee’s name to be sent to the Governor for consideration, the nominee must receive nine votes from the committee.  If the Governor does not choose an appointee within 30 days, then the committee makes the selection. Additionally, no more than 52% of appointees may be from any one party. The amendment also provides that before each retention vote, the judge must notify the committee, provide a written statement describing the judge’s qualification, and interview with the committee in private. If nine members of the committee find that the judge is not qualified, then the committee issues a statement and takes steps reasonably calculated to inform the public of the committee’s determination.

Rep. DeLaney’s amendments, adopted by consent, change the judicial selection committee terms to four years and that judges up for retention vote are listed alphabetically and not by party.

Representatives from Defense Trial Council of Indiana, Indianapolis Bar Association, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and the Insurance Institute of Indiana testified in support of this bill. Common Cause Indiana approved the bill as amended.

The bill as amended passed 8-2.

Read the bill at https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2016/bills/senate/352