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Commission slaps judge over fundraising solicitation

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The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications this week admonished a Marion Superior judge for mailing a questionable re-election fundraising flyer that it says put the judiciary in a negative light and implied that justice is for sale.

Judge Rebekah Pierson-Treacy received the admonishment following an August solicitation that went to 600 attorneys and judges in the Indianapolis area about a fundraiser being held on her behalf. The flyer contained suggested contribution levels – $150 to be designated as a "Sustained" contributor, $250 to be “Affirmed,” $500 to be “So Ordered” and $1,000 for a "Favorable Ruling." While those responsible for the solicitation say it was meant as a play on words, some took issue with the language and raised concerns.

The admonishment states that although the solicitation indicated it had been paid for and authorized by the Re-Elect Judge Becky Committee, the co-chairs of the committee and treasurer never reviewed the invitation and weren’t involved in its creation. The judge and her husband, Marion County Democratic Party Chair Ed Treacy, reviewed and authorized the flyer prior to mailing, according to the admonishment.

After the legal community and media raised concerns about the invitation, the event that was scheduled for Sept. 15 at the law firm of Pence Hensel was cancelled.

An investigation by the judicial disciplinary commission found that Pierson-Treacy violated both Rule 1.2 and 4.2(A)(1) of the state’s judicial code of conduct, which require judges to act in a manner that promotes the public’s confidence in the judiciary and in a way that maintains the independence, integrity and impartiality of the third branch.

“There is no evidence the judge intended to barter rulings for contributions,” the public admonishment says. “Nonetheless, the content of the invitation presented a negative view of the judiciary. Although Judge Pierson-Treacy’s stated intent may have been to make the traditional graduated donation levels more entertaining, the injudicious language in her invitation likely gave the impression to members of the general public that the judge’s rulings could be influenced by campaign contributions.”

This public admonishment concludes the disciplinary matter and means that no judicial misconduct charges will be officially filed against Pierson-Treacy, who has been on bench since 2001.

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  • how to rid judiciary of corruption
    The writer says "how do we" rid the judiciary of corruption over campaign money while the answer is blaringly clear. Make the public airwaves truly public by requiring air time for ALLLLL candidates equally at the expense of the carrier who was handed the frequency by fiat or lottery. Impeach the Supreme Court justices who voted for Citizens United since it is more aptly named Corporations United. When we can put a corporation in jail and it grows a mouth, then maybe they can have free speech.
  • Perhaps?!?!?
    Perhaps it's not unreasonable for someone to think they wold get favorable treatment and perhaps campaign contributons should be done away with. But how can we really do that? If a candidate really needs funds, they are going to get those funds. I'd rather have it be out in the open, rather than a brown paper bag being passed in some dark alley. So while I understand your point, that's not really what this issue is about. Nobody in their right mind is going to publicly ask for bribes to get favorable rulings. this was nothing more than an attempt at humor that gave someone the opportunity to complain about. People are too sensitive these days.
    • Everything is for sale
      It's also a shame that politics and justice are so heavily influenced by campaign contributions. Do you really think it's unrealistic to think that someone who gave a large campaign contribution might get even slightly favorable treatment for him/herself or a client?
      • Silly
        I have been around the CCB and the Marion County Courts for many years and have never heard a single negative comment about this judge's moral or ethics. It's a shame that a attempt at humor has to be dealt with in this manner.

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