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Bankruptcy court staff cuts starting to impact customers

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The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana cut an additional eight positions from its clerk’s office at the end of September, according to an update posted online from Chief Judge James Coachys. The court had already cut six positions in the beginning of the year.

The clerk’s office is the smallest it has been since the mid-1980s with 50 people on staff, Coachys reports. Courtroom services and case management have been hit the hardest because of the cuts. Employees in those areas sometimes are not able to process orders or take other actions as quickly as in the past. The Terre Haute office continues to operate at reduced hours.

The chief judge is asking the bar to help the court operate more efficiently, such as by letting the courtroom deputy know by phone when a motion to continue is going to be filed for a hearing that is set in the next 24 hours or to advise the courtroom deputy when an emergency motion has been filed.

“We now know our funding for the first few months of FY2014. While the Judiciary as a whole gets at least as much funding as it did for the equivalent period post-sequestration in FY2013, we will receive locally less than we were allotted for the same time period – because the Judiciary’s fixed costs have increased and because our filings have declined and our staff has shrunk more than other courts,” Coachys writes. “However, we believe that the staff cuts made to date will be sufficient to avoid further elimination of positions in FY2014 – if funding for the entire fiscal year is consistent with what we’ve been given through early January. Staff has been advised that furlough days unrelated to a government shutdown remain a possibility.”

Bankruptcy filings are down 6 percent in the Southern District, according to new data released Thursday by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. In 2013 Fiscal Year ending Sept. 30, 20,588 filings were made as compared to 21,909 filed during the same time in 2012. Filings are also down 4.5 percent in the Northern District of Indiana and overall are down 12 percent across federal courts.
 

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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