ILNews

Court officials chosen for juvenile justice program

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Indiana's largest county has been chosen to join six other states in a series of leadership-development workshops to study juvenile justice reform nationally.

On May 13, the non-profit Annie E. Casey Foundation selected Marion Superior Juvenile Magistrate Gary Chavers and Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Chris Ball to participate in the program because of their work recently on juvenile detention alternatives. For the past two years, the county has been Indiana's only site participating in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives (JDAI), which has helped reduce the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center's population and enable more efficiency in the local system.

Both Ball and Magistrate Chavers - who serve under Marion Superior Juvenile Judge Marilyn Moores - co-chair the local JDAI Steering Committee, which is designed to reduce incarceration rates for all juveniles and address disproportionate detainment of minorities. The two applied for the inaugural series called the Applied Leadership Network after being recommended by Judge Frank Orlando, an internationally recognized consultant for juvenile justice reforms who served on the bench in Florida and helped establish JDAI more than a decade ago.

Judge Orlando suggested them because of an Initial Hearing Court developed to determine if court involvement is necessary, the creation of an off-site reception center that addresses low-level juvenile criminal and status offenses, and a risk-assessment instrument similar to an adult bail matrix that evaluates the need for juvenile detention through a scoring system.

Other participants include juvenile justice officials from Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia.

Read more about Marion County juvenile justice reforms, and those happening statewide, in the May 14-27, 2008, edition of Indiana Lawyer or at www.theindianalawyer.com.
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  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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