Roxana S. Bell Discusses Indiana Senate Bill 352 in The Indiana Lawyer
According to The Indiana Lawyer, lawmakers are working to come to an agreement on how judges should be chosen in Marion County after they were unable to reach a compromise on March 7. Meanwhile, Indianapolis’ historically black bar association called for the direct election of judges as opposed to a merit-selection system in order to more accurately reflect the county’s diverse citizenry.
BGD attorney Roxana S. Bell was quoted in publication regarding the selection of judges. She currently serves as Marian County Bar Association President.
“Approximately two-thirds of the state’s minority residents reside in either Lake County or Marion County, and it is troubling that Senate Bill 352 would result in these two counties being among the only ones in the state where citizens have no voice in the judicial selection process,” Bell said in a statement. The association urged lawmakers “to propose language that will conform with the principles expressed in the Seventh Circuit’s opinion in Common Cause Indiana v. Individual Members of the Indiana Election Commission, 800 F.3d 913, 916 (7th Cir. 2015).”
A conference committee recessed Monday after failing to reconcile Senate and House versions of the bill according to the publication.
Bell said the MCBA disfavors merit selection, noting the 7th Circuit ruled the former partisan-balance statute reduced electoral choice. “To respond to that by passing a bill that eliminates electoral choice altogether is not a logical response to the Common Cause decision,” she said in an interview.
As of Tuesday, March 8, 2016, no further meetings have been called for conference on the proposed bill. However, the MCBA remains hopeful of a positive outcome. “We are confident that our legislators will propose a bill that is fair and equitable to the people of Marion County and that ensures that our justice system is reflective of the diversity Marion County residents are proud to proclaim,” Bell said.