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Bill proposes modest Marion County small claims reforms

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Modest reforms to the derided Marion County township small claims courts are proposed in a bill scheduled to get a committee hearing Wednesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear Senate Bill 366, which would create a new oversight position for the county’s township small claims courts, which are unique in Indiana. The courts have been criticized for practices perceived to favor heavy-volume debt-collection filers, allegations of forum shopping and other problems.

Legislation authored by Indianapolis Republican senators R. Michael Young and Scott Schneider would create a position of small claims administrative judge which would be elected by the nine township judges from among their ranks. The administrative judge would be charged with court supervision duties that currently fall to the Marion County Circuit Court judge.

The bill also would add language that could reduce wage garnishments to satisfy judgments. Upon a showing of cause, the minimum garnishment could be as little as 10 percent of a person’s disposable earnings. I.C. 24-4.5-5-105 currently allows 25 percent of disposable earnings to be garnisheed to satisfy judgments.

Chief Justice Brent Dickson urged lawmakers to take steps to reform the courts during his State of the Judiciary Address earlier this month.

“Our present system has been the subject of ridicule by the Wall Street Journal, and local newspaper and television reporters launched investigations into the system,” Dickson told a joint session of the House and Senate on Jan. 15.

While he noted some local rules changes and needed reforms followed a report from a task force led by Court of Appeals Judge John Baker and Senior Judge Betty Barteau, Dickson told lawmakers, “Systemic change is imperative, and this requires legislative action.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider SB 366 at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Room 130 of the Statehouse.





 

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  1. The is an unsigned editorial masquerading as a news story. Almost everyone quoted was biased in favor of letting all illegal immigrants remain in the U.S. (Ignoring that Obama deported 3.5 million in 8 years). For some reason Obama enforcing part of the immigration laws was O.K. but Trump enforcing additional parts is terrible. I have listed to press conferences and explanations of the Homeland Security memos and I gather from them that less than 1 million will be targeted for deportation, the "dreamers" will be left alone and illegals arriving in the last two years -- especially those arriving very recently -- will be subject to deportation but after the criminals. This will not substantially affect the GDP negatively, especially as it will take place over a number of years. I personally think this is a rational approach to the illegal immigration problem. It may cause Congress to finally pass new immigration laws rationalizing the whole immigration situation.

  2. Mr. Straw, I hope you prevail in the fight. Please show us fellow American's that there is a way to fight the corrupted justice system and make them an example that you and others will not be treated unfairly. I hope you the best and good luck....

  3. @ President Snow - Nah, why try to fix something that ain't broken??? You do make an excellent point. I am sure some Mickey or Minnie Mouse will take Ruckers seat, I wonder how his retirement planning is coming along???

  4. Can someone please explain why Judge Barnes, Judge Mathias and Chief Judge Vaidik thought it was OK to re weigh the evidence blatantly knowing that by doing so was against the rules and went ahead and voted in favor of the father? I would love to ask them WHY??? I would also like to ask the three Supreme Justices why they thought it was OK too.

  5. How nice, on the day of my car accident on the way to work at the Indiana Supreme Court. Unlike the others, I did not steal any money or do ANYTHING unethical whatsoever. I am suing the Indiana Supreme Court and appealed the failure of the district court in SDIN to protect me. I am suing the federal judge because she failed to protect me and her abandonment of jurisdiction leaves her open to lawsuits because she stripped herself of immunity. I am a candidate for Indiana Supreme Court justice, and they imposed just enough sanction so that I am made ineligible. I am asking the 7th Circuit to remove all of them and appoint me as the new Chief Justice of Indiana. That's what they get for dishonoring my sacrifice and and violating the ADA in about 50 different ways.

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