I Endorse Will Riley for Judge in Hamilton County [Indiana] Superior Court 1

March 15, 2018

Will was very generous with his time in our conversation, as were the other candidates. The chord was struck with Will by:

> His fidelity to the U. S. and Indiana Constitutions: he spoke freely of these documents as foundational in all his deliberations.

> His inquisitive mind: he had been reading through The Federalist Papers, again.

> His ability to communicate legal principles in understandable ways: he spoke of interacting with law school students, probing their understanding and helping them test their own presuppositions.

> His insight into the role of Judge: fairness to all parties, while upholding the law. He had written, “…we must help those who have lost their way, but hold our offenders accountable.”

> His temperament: personally engaging, while remaining impartial.

> His appreciation for liberty and individual rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

> His remarkable background….

…..Will was one of the lawyers who helped recover $3.9 billion for Indiana taxpayers from the tobacco companies and one of the lawyers who represented the Attorney General of California that recovered $12.5 billion for taxpayers from the tobacco companies.

…..Closer to home, Will tried a 6-week trial in Hamilton County and recovered $17 million for his client and the client’s business.

…..Most recently, Will was a semi-finalist to sit on the Indiana Supreme Court.

> His understanding of today’s world: the relationship between the fabric of culture and law in a thriving society.

Appreciation for Each Candidate

I am grateful to each of the three candidates for giving their time in conversation. I have enormous respect for the background, experience, and contribution that each has made to our state and community.

My questions for each related to:

> One’s view of the relevance of the Constitution.

> The relationship between individual liberty and the fabric of our culture.

> The foundation on which one stands when making decisions.

> How to shore up respect for the law.

> Possible threats to our freedoms.

In this process I renewed one friendship that goes back several years and made two new friends––all of whom I admire.


Some Different, but Not Unrelated, Notes

I couldn’t help but reflect on the process of electing judges; this is a different animal.

For example, that these lawyers are obliged to run a campaign at all is awkward. We are talking about a very political process for an apolitical position. I in turn was obliged to ask different questions––more difficult than inquiring of those running for typical elected office.

The requirement for fundraising and party affiliation could also be complicating factors. Friendships, loyalty, and resources can bring out the best in any of us…as long as they don’t carry encumbrances into the future. As a doctor requires a sterile surgical field, a judge must guard his thinking from matters that do not pertain to the case at hand. I doubt that money and connections are a help in such deliberations.

This is not to suggest there is a better way of finding judges; selection boards and/or appointment systems have their own drawbacks. In recent years while pondering one challenge or another in our country, I have often thought, “The antidote to this is an informed electorate.”

I have done my best to make an informed decision and wanted to share it.