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the Indiana Court of Appeals for a three new appellate judges for a sixth district, and they also noted a request was withdrawn from Marion County to convert 20 commissioners to magistrates.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. 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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