|Meade is not well-liked at the courthouse.|
Originally appointed by former Governor Frank O'Bannon, Busch went on to earn a stellar reputation as Superior Court Judge and was handily elected to two subsequent terms by Democrats and Republicans who found him to be fair, polite, honest, and most importantly, non-partisan.
Readers can find the sanitized version about Busch's last minute change of plans at this link.
The real reasons for Busch's challenge against Meade have not been publicly stated, due in part, to the fact that conduct rules for attorneys prohibit them from speaking out against judges -- even very controversial ones like Les Meade.
The political grapevine has been ripe with chatter, though, since Busch made his stunning announcement. Interestingly, many behind-the-scenes comments have been very candid.
Meade has been described by local attorneys as "arrogant" and a "bully" and also someone who is "very difficult to get a long with." Meade has also allegedly threatened lawyers and police officers with whom he has disagreed with jail time.
A common complaint has been that Meade reportedly makes disparaging comments about other judges and lawyers while on the record and in front of clients. Attorneys have reported that several disciplinary complaints have been filed against Meade for this type of alleged misconduct, and some of those complaints are presently pending with the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.
Meade was involved in a controversy involving a disabled war veteran who had lost a leg and suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome as a result of horrific combat he experienced in which some of his friends were killed.
Prosecutors had worked out a plea agreement with the disabled veteran after he shot his firearm in the air during a dispute. Meade rejected the plea and went so far as to send an email to the attorney indicating the veteran's decision to exercise his constitutional right to trial reflected upon his character and lack of remorse.
Meade showed no mercy toward the veteran and went so far as to tell the young man that he was the only judge in Tippecanoe County who was not sympathetic at the loss of a limb. Onlookers were stunned by Meade's calloused remarks as well as the audacity to compare himself to a war veteran-amputee.
The defendant-veteran chose to pursue a jury trial and was acquitted of the felony charges against him despite Meade's best efforts to prosecute him from the bench.
It wasn't the first time Meade attempted to punish a defendant for exercising constitutional rights.
Another defendant who chose to exercise his right to a jury trial for a first-time misdemeanor offense was chastised by Meade after a jury found him guilty. Again, Meade rejected the prosecutor's recommendation that the defendant be sentenced to three months of unsupervised probation since it was a first-time, minor offense.
Meade sentenced the man to six months in jail after giving him a verbal lashing for "wasting his valuable court time with a jury trial" and for "failing to testify on his behalf" during the trial. Onlookers were stunned that Meade would punish a citizen for exercising fundamental, constitutional rights.
A formal complaint was sent to the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission afterwards and Meade was forced to withdraw his harsh sentence.
"It doesn't appear that the experience has taught him anything about constitutional rights of American citizens," commented one local attorney when asked about the case.
Local attorneys are also concerned about Meade's lack of qualifications citing the fact that Circuit Court is a high profile court involving murder cases.
"Les Meade hasn't handled a single murder case as a lawyer or a judge," commented a local attorney. "He hasn't had the proper training, nor does he have an ounce of experience for that type of case."
If these complaints make it to the ears of voters, Meade may have a difficult time on election night in November.