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Comments wanted on proposed changes to senior judge rules

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The Indiana Supreme Court wants to hear from the public and legal community about revising the state’s senior judge program, allowing certified former judges to serve in any court rather than specific jurisdictions.

Public comments are being accepted through Dec. 1, according to an announcement Friday from the state’s highest court. The revisions would amend Administrative Rule 5 regarding the certification and appointment of senior judges to allow them broader jurisdictional power anywhere in the state they might be needed.

The proposed changes come from the Indiana Judicial Conference’s Strategic Planning and Senior Judge Committees, as part of a broader discussion and ongoing effort to reform Indiana’s courts. The changes would follow legislative action this past year that streamlined trial courts’ jurisdiction and gave them the ability to unify their local court systems for more efficiency.

On Thursday, that court reform topic and a mention of these senior judge program changes came up at the interim Commission on Courts meeting. Lawmakers and court officials discussed the state judiciary’s strategic plan on consolidating Indiana’s court systems – described as “one of the most complex” in the U.S.

“This opens up the door for more judicial creativity in resolving cases and collaborating,” Marion Superior Judge Mark Stoner, co-chair of the Judicial Conference Strategic Planning Committee, said about the overall court reform.

These proposed revisions to the senior judge program would complement those ongoing efforts. Specifically, the proposed changes would permit a certified senior judge to serve in any court, clarify the senior judges’ jurisdiction, provide information to trial courts about senior judges’ expertise and preferences, develop a set of “best practices” for those serving, and increase the number of automatic senior judge days that each court has. The specific revisions can be found online.

More than two decades after the Indiana General Assembly created this senior judge program in 1989, Indiana currently has 92 former judges certified to serve in senior judge capacities. The most recent data from 2010 shows they served 3,592 days in courts throughout the state – equivalent to 20 full-time judges, according to the state’s weighted caseload analysis.

Comments on the proposed changes can be sent to RulesComments@courts.in.gov, or by mail to Tom Carusillo in the Indiana Supreme Court Division of State Court Administration, 30 S. Meridian St., Suite 500, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

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  1. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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