A day after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in the Charlie White case, it made another key decision: The justices will bypass the court of appeals and take jurisdiction over the challenge to school vouchers.
The court seldom bypasses the appeals court, and when the Supreme Court does, the cases in question are likely to end up before it anyway and warrant a relatively quick turnaround.
In the White case, that turnaround was unusually quick. The court accepted the case Feb. 7; the final ruling came just less than six weeks later. Using the normal process would have likely taken more than a year.
The turnaround with the voucher case probably wont be quite as fast. With the White case, the secretary of states office was vacant, and Hoosiers needed a decision on who would appoint Whites successor. Hoosiers will want to know the future of vouchers by late spring, when they decide where their children will attend school this fall.
The court must seek written submissions and schedule oral arguments. And the court denied an expedited appeal.
The newest justice will quite likely take part in that ruling.
Daniels will probably make his appointment to replace Randall Shepard, who retires Friday, by early next week. The finalists are Daniels former counsel, Mark Massa; Court of Appeals Judge Cale Bradford; and Indianapolis attorney Jane Seigel.
Bradford has experience closest to the work justices perform, but speculation centers on whether Daniels will appoint a woman to the all-male court or show loyalty to Massa.
Indiana prosecutors have much discretion, and that has traditionally included their public statements. A recent state Supreme Court ruling will probably change that.
Many county prosecutors traditionally err on the side of disclosing very little when discussing pending cases. Those willing to give up more are often more politically inclined.
While current and former Allen County prosecutors Karen Richards and Stephen Sims (now a judge) earned reputations for saying little about pending cases, two former Marion County prosecutors – Carl Brizzi and Steve Goldsmith – gave surprisingly detailed comments about some high-profile cases.
Earlier this month, the court handed Brizzi a public reprimand for making public statements as a prosecutor that had a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding and a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the criminal defendants.
Brizzi violated professional rules of conduct limiting such statements, but the court acknowledged at the time he made the statements at issue, there was little precedent in Indiana or elsewhere defining the limits of those rules.
Now that the court has defined them, expect prosecutors to give even less information than before.