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COA permits Knightstown to abolish town court

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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.”
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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