Court reform plan starts with enhanced education proposal

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As part of a larger court reform plan, the governing board of the Judicial Conference of Indiana wants more required education for judges at the state appellate and trial levels.

The board voted unanimously for enhanced educational requirements and has forwarded a proposed rule change to the Indiana Supreme Court for consideration. No timetable exists for when justices must decide that.

Currently, Indiana judges must obtain at least 36 hours for every three-year reporting period, and they must have at least six hours of Continuing Legal Education each year as well as no more than 12 hours of non-legal subject matter courses. Three ethics hours also are required every three years.

Under the new rule proposal, the Judicial Education Committee recommends that judges would need at least 54 hours every three years, or 15 hours annually, and no more than 18 hours could be in non-legal subjects. An extra two hours of ethics learning would be required every three-year period, too.

This would be mandatory for any state level judicial officer, which includes appellate judges and justices, trial judges, magistrates, and full-time commissioners and referees. Requirements for senior judges, part-time court officers, and city and town court judges wouldn’t change.

The point is to ensure that jurists have more educational requirements than the practicing attorneys who come before them. Court leaders say that is mostly the case now, but this would make it mandatory.

This educational rule enhancement is part of the state judiciary’s broad court reform plan unveiled in September, which sets out long-term plans and priorities for improving the Indiana court system through improved education, streamlining and reorganizing court operations and structures, uniform state funding, and an examination of statewide judicial selection.

“Implementation of the strategic plan is moving forward,” said Marion Superior Judge Mark Stoner, who co-chairs the Strategic Planning Committee. “The first step is to require enhanced education for judges which will ensure they are given the tools to improve their skills and knowledge of the law. Better educated judges will improve the quality of justice for citizens.”


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.