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Commission on Courts makes recommendations

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

As the interim legislative calendar wound down to make way for the next Indiana General Assembly session, the Commission on Courts has made recommendations on new court requests and discussed issues that impact funding and structure of statewide trial courts.

In its final meeting of the year on Oct. 15, the commission voted 8-0 in favor of legislative recommendation PD 3058 for the existing Clark, Henry, and Madison Circuit and Superior courts to become unified Circuit Courts. Local rules will be amended in Clark County to address any judicial concerns about case allocation, Superior Judge Vicki Carmichael told the commission.

Additionally, the commission voted 8-0 in favor of PD 3318 that would add two judges and three magistrates to the state’s payroll for Allen, Bartholomew, Hamilton, Johnson, and Warrick counties. The commission prioritized the need for new court officers based on the 2009 weighted caseload study if legislators determine insufficient funds exist to pay for all the new judicial resources: New Johnson Superior judge, conversion of a Title IV-D hearing officer to a magistrate for Allen County, and new magistrates for Hamilton, Warrick, and Bartholomew counties.

On a broader financial note for state courts, commission members supported the concept of standardizing jurisdictions of all state trial courts but didn’t draft any legislative language. This idea would make reassigning workload between courts easier and wouldn’t require judges to seek proposed legislative changes for new judicial resources, according to Marion Superior Judge Mark Stoner who has been a part of a larger court reform plan addressing this issue. If centralized state funding for trial courts materializes in the future, this would be a step to helping ease into that, he said. That legislative proposal came along with another that the commission supported by a 7-1 vote (with Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, opposed) recommending that all city and town court judges be attorneys starting with 2011 elections.

An additional recommendation impacting state court funding was the approval of PD 3436, which would increase the Automated Record-Keeping Fee that largely pays for the statewide case management system’s implementation. That fee would rise from the current $7 to $10, beginning July 1, 2011, and would lower back to the existing level June 30, 2015. Commission members voted 7-1, with Johnson County Clerk Jill Jackson opposing the proposed increase. The commission has proposed this increase in the past, but the General Assembly has so far failed to adopt it.
 

Rehearing "Court funding bills get approval" IL March 3-16, 2010

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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