Former Justice: Judges Should Be Appointed, Not Elected

Some Say Judges Shouldn't Have To Campaign

A former Indiana Supreme Court justice is calling for changes to the way judges are elected in Marion County, saying they should be appointed, not elected.

In an article in the Indianapolis Business Journal, former Justice Ted Boehm, who retired last fall, called the process "downright screwy."

It comes on the heels of controversy over a campaign event flier circulated by Judge Becky Pierson-Treacy that seemed to offer favorable rulings in exchange for campaign contributions.

Under the heading of suggested contributions, it lists $150 as sustained, $250 as affirmed, $500 as so ordered and $1,000 as a "favorable ruling."

The event has since been canceled and Pierson-Treacy's husband, Marion County Democratic Party Chairman Ed Treacy, told 6News he took responsibility for "not the best use of language" on the flier.

Boehm says judges shouldn't be elected but appointed by a select commission in a merit system, eliminating the need to campaign.

"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.

To get on the ballot, judges pay a suggested slating fee of about $12,000. Raising that money was the worst part of the job, said former Judge Gary Miller.

"It's very uncomfortable for judges. We go from being this very independent judicial officer, to being a very partisan, political creature," he said.

But Marion County Republican Party Chairman Kyle Walker disagrees with Boehm's push to revamp the process of naming judge, saying the system is fine just the way it is.

"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."

Any changes would require legislative approval.

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