INDIANAPOLIS – An Indiana resident filed suit Wednesday in Elkhart County seeking a finding that Attorney General Curtis Hill has vacated his office and should be replaced.
Hill is serving a 30-day suspension of his law license. Indiana law says the attorney general must be “duly licensed to practice law in Indiana.”
“Given the suspension begins on May 18, 2020, and lasting through June 17th 2020, this motion is particularly exigent,” the filing said. “The position of the Indiana Attorney General is a state office with significant duties and responsibilities, and therefore the clarification being asked of this Court is of great public importance for the interests of both the State of Indiana and its citizens.”
Rebekah A. Atkins, an indigent-litigant and citizen, contends the suspension means Hill is no longer duly licensed, and the office is vacant.
State law also says a “vacancy that occurs in a state office other than by resignation or death shall be certified to the governor by the circuit court clerk of the county in which the officer resided.”
Hill lives in Elkhart County so that's where the motion was filed.
“This Court is the proper authority to address the failure of the Elkhart County Clerk not issuing a certificate of vacancy to Governor Eric Holcomb when it is quite apparent that Curtis Hill is and has vacated his office for at least the next 30 days,” the suit said.
The move is a bit of a Hail Mary after the Indiana Supreme Court declined this week to allow Gov. Eric Holcomb to intervene in Hill's disciplinary case. He was seeking clarification of the same question the suit involves.
But the court said it was inappropriate to have another party intervene in a disciplinary case.
Atkins' legal challenge is a separate and distinct case.
She contends the state is currently without an attorney general, which would allow Holcomb to appoint a successor.
Currently Hill's chief deputy is running the office – including filing an amicus brief with 13 other states this week supporting the Trump administration's move to dismiss charges in the Michael Flynn case.