ILNews

COA permits Knightstown to abolish town court

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A battle between a town council and a judge over the fate of the local town court was stopped with the Indiana Court of Appeals noting the Indiana Legislature tends not to enact statutes that produce “unjust or absurd results.”

Bart Whitesitt filed a complaint after Knightstown passed an ordinance abolishing the town court. Knightstown had established the town court in the 1970s to adjudicate traffic infractions and misdemeanors.

Whitesitt was appointed town court judge on Jan. 31, 2011. That same month, the Henry County Prosecutor’s Office announced it would no longer refer misdemeanor offenses to the town court.

This move caused a shortfall in revenue and led Knightstown to dissolve the town court.

Appealing the summary judgment, Whitesitt argued Knightstown violated Indiana Code 33-35-1-1. The judge asserted that under the statute, a town court can only be closed every fourth year after 2006.

Knightstown counted that since its town court was established prior to Jan. 1, 1986, it was exempt from the requirements of the statute.  

In Bart Whitesitt v. Town of Knightstown, 33A04-1302-MI-00072, the Court of Appeals agreed with Knightstown and affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the town.

“The General Assembly’s intent to treat courts established prior to January 1, 1986, differently from those established after that date is clear under the plain language of subsection (d) when it is considered within the entire context of the statute,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the court. “To reach any other conclusion would render subsection (d) meaningless. We presume our General Assembly does not enact useless statutes or statutory provisions and intends to avoid unjust or absurd results.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

ADVERTISEMENT