Judge Jim Payne and quality journalism

Dateline: Mon 24 Sep 2012

Tim Evans of the Indianapolis Star did excellent reporting for Sunday's Indianapolis Star, detailing the personal problems of Department of Child Services' boss Jim Payne and his penchant for overstepping his considerable authority.

This is the sort of journalism that defines a great daily -- gutty yet nuanced, fair yet tough.

For years, Payne has had a rep as a dictatorial sort of guy. My limited experience was his determination to shutter the Children's Guardian Home on the Eastside in Irvington. Friends and aquaintances who worked/volunteered there maintained that Payne had a grudge against the facility, not for any fault of its own doing, but simply because as the Marion County chief juvenile judge, he wanted all the power.

His own story of influence on behalf of his troubled son regarding a thorny child custody case sounds like another case of drastically overstepping his bonds. His own family sounds like it's in a serious mess. Plus, it appears that he was operating on behalf of his son and grandchildren while working as DCS chief, and that he allotted a travel budget for the kids when his own salary was fat.

In short, he's not done a good job of keeping his own house in order.

Ironically, the one time I heard him speak was at a meeting of the Brebeuf Mothers' Club. He was there to lecture on the issue of drunk-driving, with a sort of tough love message thrown in.

Ironically, or not, it's his own adult son who had the DUI charges.

Time to step aside, or the governor should call it a day for him. 

Good reporting.

 

Comments

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Call me crazy, but:

When someone acts like a thug, and is in a position of power, and that power is over defenseless children's complicated legal/custody/support issues....

That person is certainly the lowest of low lifes.

We all know it's difficult to raise kids these days. And that difficulty does not avoid families whose parent(s) are powerful. Payne wasted a teachable moment, and reverted to his known success level: bully.

He got it because elected judges have absolutely no one to reign them in. Errant judges can get disciplined by the Supreme Court, their fellow judges, and the Bar Association. Never mind. If you pay off the right folks and get slated, you're a judge. Whether you're good or not.

For what it's worth, his Juvey Court replacement, Marilyn Moores, has done a remarkable job without the ego. It's tough on her watch. Lots of human shrapnel over on Keystone. Lots.

She inherited a guard staff that molested kids. A bankrupt budget. A culture of misbehavior and dictatorial management.

Once again, a smart mom saves the day.



2012-09-25 06:51:52

hendy [Member] said:

Now he's gone. I hope they fill his spot with a strong individual. It's one of the toughest jobs in the county.

2012-09-25 09:58:22

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Yep. He's gone. He should never have been there in the first place.

There will be qualified folks lining up around the block for that job.

By the way, why did he need a state car?

2012-09-25 23:00:30

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Yep. He's gone. He should never have been there in the first place.

There will be qualified folks lining up around the block for that job.

By the way, why did he need a state car?

2012-09-25 23:00:32

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Damn I hit "send" too soon..meant to add:

The applicants may be afraid of two words: Mike Pence. But we'll see.

2012-09-25 23:01:39

hendy [Member] said:

I would just like it if the governor just called it a day.

2012-09-27 12:16:31

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