Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dr. John Pless To The Rescue

Advance Indiana can confirm this evening that Dr. John Pless, who for 20 years ran the IU School of Medicine's Division of Forensic Pathology, will ask Marion County Republicans to slate him at its slating convention this Saturday as the GOP county coroner candidate this year. Dr. Pless has twice been elected in the past as a Republican coroner in two other Indiana counties, Lawrence and Monroe. Believe it or not, another person whose name has been floated as a possible Republican candidate is Dr. Joye Carter, the highly controversial forensic pathologist who Dr. Kenneth Ackles, a chiropractor, hired after he terminated the contract of Forensic Pathology Associates of Indiana. Dr. Pless told me this evening he would only run for the office if he is slated on Saturday to run by the GOP. Dr. Pless was unaware of the rumors of Dr. Carter's name being put forward as a possible candidate. While Carter's candidacy may sound odd to some, it has happened in the past that an employee of the office has run against the sitting coroner, typically with the blessing of the incumbent coroner.

If elected, Dr. Pless intends to lobby state lawmakers to switch to a regional medical examiner system in place of the current elected coroner system. Under one scenario, there could still be elected coroners, but the autopsies would be administered by regional medical examiners. Alternatively, the elected coroners would be done away with altogether, a change which requires a constitutional amendment. Dr. Pless said he would not perform autopsies for Marion County if he is elected; however, he would probably perform autopsies for other counties.

On the Democratic side, Democrats fully intend to re-slate Dr. Ackles despite the controversy which has surrounded his tenure in office. Interestingly, former Chief Deputy Coroner John Linehan, who won a race discrimination claim against the Marion County Coroner's Office last year, is also said to be planning to challenge Ackles in the Democratic May primary. A source tells me that Linehan had attempted to file a slating fee to challenge Ackles at the Democratic slating convention, but his filing was rejected because he tendered a fee based upon 10% of the salary the position pays rather than 15%. The source tells me that Ackles was only required to pay a 10% slating fee. Four years ago, Linehan was supposed to be slated as the Democratic candidate until former Marion Co. Democratic Chairman Ed Treacey maneuvered with the help of the late Rep. Julia Carson to slate the less-qualified Ackles instead.


Anonymous said...

I am so happy to hear that Dr. Pless is running for coroner. He is an outstanding choice to clean up the mess Dr. Ackles has created.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Pless would be an outstanding coroner and a desperately needed solution to the never ending problem that is the Marion County Coroner's Office. If a regional medical examiner's office is not an option, at minimum I would hope Dr. Pless can return the close relationship the office once had with Indiana University, where everyone can benefit: autopsies performed by solid pathologists make a prosecutor happy, and countless teaching opportunities for the medical school make administrators and students happy.

oh, and no racism either.

in the end, the community benefits the most. If i still lived in Indy Dr. Pless would have my vote!

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Pless said he would not perform autopsies for Marion County if he is elected; however, he would probably perform autopsies for other counties."

If elected, why would he perform autopsies in other counties and not in Marion County? He is an expert in the field and has trained some of the best forensic pathologists in the nation?

I would certainly love to see a debate between the renowned Dr. Pless and the seriously unqualified current office holder Quackles.

Anonymous said...

The Joye Carter rumor makes sense when you think about it. Tom John just became a partner at Ice Miller. Dr. Carter was represented by Ice Miller in her contract negotiations with the Marion County Coroner's office.

Anonymous said...

I was at the 2004 slating convention.

If Julia's camp was strongly backing Ackles, it could not be determined.

The Center gulag was, in fact, all over the place.

I'm told Linnehan had promised to kiss the ring, and on Friday night before, decided against it.

Peaches and Crew spread some pretty vicious stuff about Linnehan, and it did the trick.

But Julia kept her hands clean and above it all.

As a committeeman, I've bene getting invites to some other coroner candidate's events, but cannot remember his name. County Recorder Julie Vorheis and other party big names were on the host list.

So, Ackles will not skate away freely tomorrow.

And even if he's the only candidate, he won't get my vote. He's a 14K goof.