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Justice For Sale?

There is a long-time debate in legal circles as to whether Judges should be elected or appointed?  I’ve always favored appointments over elections because I have no desire to see a judge lose his or her position because of legally-sound, but politically unpopular, decisions.

Another reason I am not a fan of judicial elections is because of the possible appearance of impropriety and influence buying.  Take for example the following.  On September 15, supporters of Marion County Superior Court Judge Becky Pierson-Treacy are hosting a fundrasier here in Indianapolis. No biggie, right?  Well instead of a flat donation request, they’ve allowed for different levels of donating.

  • $150 gets you a “Sustained”
  • $250 gets you “Affirmed”
  • $500 gets you “So Ordered”
  • $1000 gets you “Favorable Ruling”

I’ve embedded a copy of the invitation below.

Obviously, someone thought the play on judicial terms would be cute, but there’s just something that seems inappropriate about donating $1000 to get a favorable ruling.  And to make matters more interesting, I am told that the invitations have been sent to attorneys (both prosecutors and public defenders) that have appeared before Judge Treacy.  Does anyone really think this is a good idea?

There are judicial canons that prohibit judges from soliciting political contributions.   Maybe the rules should be revisited.