ILNews

Commission votes on court-related recommendations to lawmakers

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A handful of Hoosier counties got a nod from a legislative study commission for new courts and judicial resources this week, and those recommendations will now go to lawmakers for consideration in the next General Assembly session.

The Commission on Courts met Monday to discuss and vote on several measures that include new courts or judicial officers, but Marion County and the Indiana Court of Appeals are not on the list of recommendations.

The commission did not bring up or vote on a previous request from the Indiana Court of Appeals for a three new appellate judges for a sixth district, and they also noted a request was withdrawn from Marion County to convert 20 commissioners to magistrates.

However, commission members voted to add a second Circuit judge in Franklin County and abolish that court's magistrate position; convert two Madison County Court judges into the fourth and fifth Superior judges; add a second judge to Miami Superior Court; create two new general magistrate positions for St. Joseph Probate Court to replace the juvenile magistrates there; to create a new magistrate position for the Dearborn-Ohio Circuit Court; and to abolish the Jefferson-Switzerland Circuit Court with Jefferson County retaining the current joint Circuit judge.

Each one of those received a unanimous vote, along with the two other topics that warranted a vote from the commission.

One of the recommendations would allow for magistrates statewide to enter final orders or judgments in proceedings that involve small claims, protective orders, or cases that prevent domestic or family violence. Currently, only Allen and St. Joseph county magistrates have these powers, and judges there told the commission that the courts' growing caseloads in these areas means that they couldn't operate without the magistrates performing those functions.

The chairman read a statement from St Joseph Superior Judge John Marnocha that said the process has worked well and that, "It is particularly important to litigants that they have a final decision at the time it is made, rather than waiting for a judge to approve the recommendation of the magistrate. It has also alleviated judges from the time it takes to review the orders (which) in a high volume court is crucial."

Commission members voted unanimously to recommend the magistrate powers expansion to lawmakers.

The commission decided not to address or vote on changes regarding judicial mandates, instead opting to leave that responsibility to the Indiana Supreme Court to address as situations arise.

None of these votes put the changes in effect; all of the commission's recommendations will go to the General Assembly for consideration in their next legislative session.
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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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