Should Judge Nancy H. Vaidik be Retained?

13 Oct

Judge Nancy H. Vaidik is a judge on the Fifth District Court of Appeals.  As far as I can tell, the question of her retention is statewide on all Indiana ballots.  She was appointed by Governor Frank O’Bannon in 2000, and retained by voters in 2002.  Since I am only concerned with her retention as a citizen of Wabash County, I only considered her retention by her rulings on case logs that applied to residents of Wabash County.

Of the 19 cases that she ruled on, I only found one that I was in complete disagreement on.  In the case of the State of Indiana v. Robert Sherman, Jr., she reversed a post-conviction court ruling that the lawyer of Sherman’s case, Robert Dawalt, was ineffective counsel for arguing against reasonable suspicion used by Indiana State Police officers in seizure of trash to obtain a search warrant of his property.  The circumstances of the reversal was that a case that redefined the necessary suspicion that was used by the ISP had not been decided until a later date than the post-conviction trial wasn’t necessarily the reason for my objection to the reversal, it was the the initial actions by the ISP officers to obtain the search warrant that I am opposed to.

During an ISP investigation for the eradication of marijuana, Sherman became a target by association of another individual who had purchased items from a marijuana magazine.  Sherman, himself, was not the purchaser from the magazine, only the associate.  Does that seem like a justifiable reason to search a U.S. citizens trash?  Regardless, Sherman’s trash yielded adequate materials to obtain a search warrant, and a conviction of possesion of marijuana was handed out with a two-year sentence to prison.

Vaidik, as a judge, has the responsibility to both the Indiana and U.S. Constitutions to nullify on the grounds of unreasonable searches and seizures.  She failed to perform her duty as vowed by her Oath of Office, and therefore, should not be retained.  It is in my opinion that the citizens of Indiana should overturn her appointment by voting “no” the the proposed measure.

5 Responses to “Should Judge Nancy H. Vaidik be Retained?”

  1. James Mahoney October 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    Thanks for writing about this. It’s kind of hard to find out information about people like this, and this helped me see that this judge should not be retained. Personally, I think marijuana should be legalized, so any steps, even within the law, to arrest people who use it annoy me. However, when it’s as flimsy as this case, there’s no way I’m voting for a judge who said this is fine.

  2. wabash4smallgov October 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    I also believe that the War on Drugs, especially marijuana, is a failed policy in the vein of alcohol prohibition. Also, unreasonable searches and seizures are unconstitutional. This Judge made two mistakes, and deserves to lose her job.

  3. alconebay November 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    I also do not like her decision (or the police’s decision to look through the trash), but it wasn’t illegal. Trash on the curb is legally considered abandoned property.

    • wabash4smallgov November 5, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

      Legally, you are correct. Lawfully and ethically, they should obtain a warrant. The Patriot Act is legal. NDAA is legal. The president’s abuse of the term “commander-in-chief” when starting a war is legal, if they get Congressional approval afterwards. ObamaCare is legal. I could go on and on. None of the above are lawful, according to the U.S. Constitution. That’s the only measuring stick that matters. I would also question how the Indiana State Police deemed necessary to look through Sherman’s trash, when all they had to go off of was that he was a friend of a person who had purchased something (paraphernalia) from a marijuana magazine (probably High Times). I know of people who smoke marijuana. It would be just as easy for them to say that we are friends, and police officers to plant things in my trash. We need protection from the government, especially from being unlawfully targeted. This case carries an evil stench to it that cannot be made just. Removal of the judge who did nothing to stop this injustice is but a first step towards making sure it isn’t repeated.

      • alconebay November 6, 2012 at 12:08 am #

        Good points. I agree 100%. She shouldn’t be retained.

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