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Judges facing retention votes

Allen County voters will not elect any judges this year, but Hoosiers statewide will decide whether two Allen County natives remain on the state’s highest courts. In all, two Indiana Supreme Court justices and four Court of Appeals judges face retention votes on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Much of the attention will center on Allen County native Steven David, who joined the Supreme Court in 2010 and drew much criticism after writing his first ruling in 2011. David was in the 3-2 majority that determined Hoosiers have no legal right to block or resist police officers entering their homes, even if the entry is illegal. Many Hoosiers objected to his ruling and promised to vote against him, and some websites and a Facebook page focus on opposition.

Hoosiers should be careful, though, not to oust judges because of a single ruling, as voters in Iowa did after that state’s highest court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. And they should keep in mind two other justices joined David in the decision.

The other justice facing a retention vote is the second most-senior justice, Robert Rucker, a 1999 appointee who dissented in the police-entry case.

The four appeals court judges facing retention include former Allen Superior Court Judge Paul Mathias, an appeals judge since 2000.

While it’s difficult for many Hoosiers to determine how to vote, the courts have established a website that includes biographies as well as a link to cases on which judges ruled (see box).

While many Hoosiers almost automatically vote yes or no on all judges, the best approach is to cast an informed vote, and the website offers a tool to help voters choose.