EDITORIAL: Retain Court of Appeals judges

2012-10-19T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Retain Court of Appeals judges nwitimes.com
October 19, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Northwest Indiana voters will find three names at the bottom of the ballot, each seeking another 10-year term on the Indiana Court of Appeals. It's a yes-or-no question. Vote yes.

Judges Nancy Vaidik, of Valparaiso, Michael Barnes, of South Bend, and Paul Mathias, of Fort Wayne, are all good choices.

The Indiana Bar Association polled its members, and they recommend these judges remain on the court.

The Court of Appeals is the end of the road for nearly all Indiana cases appealed after trial. The judges move swiftly and efficiently to clear cases set before them.

It takes an average of 33 days for a case to work its way through the Court of Appeals. That's impressive, especially when you figure that each case gets a full opinion.

It's also helpful that the judges flag opinions that should be considered as setting precedent to help attorneys sift through all the available information faster.

There's a lot of information to go through, too. Just look at the judges' retention websites, and you'll find not only a biography of the justice, but also videos of oral arguments and a long list of cases they've considered and their rulings on each case. This is a court committed to providing public access to the public's business.

The Court of Appeals also is committed to civics education, going to every Hoosier county to hear appeals before an audience of high school students. This "appeals on wheels" program gives students not only a look at the inner workings of their government, but also an idea of what attorneys and judges — and, yes, defendants — actually do.

In an age when civics education is suffering, programs like this one are invaluable.

Judges Vaidik, Barnes and Mathias are hardworking, reasonable jurists who deserve 10 more years on the bench. We endorse Vaidik, Barnes and Mathias and urge voters to retain them.

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