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Court commission OKs new judicial officer requests

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The Commission on Courts held its final meeting on Thursday, voting in support of new judicial officers for a handful of Indiana counties and agreeing to send those recommendations on to state lawmakers for consideration.

Members of the interim legislative study committee discussed the state judiciary’s strategic plan on court reform that is gradually being implemented through court rule and legislative action, including new laws that were passed during the most recent Indiana General Assembly session allowing for jurisdictional consolidation and unification in local court systems. They also discussed probation officer salaries, but didn’t take any action on those items.

The committee voted in favor of new judicial officer requests that have come before the panel in years past: converting the county-paid Allen Circuit hearing officer to a state-paid magistrate, and a new magistrate in Bartholomew, Hamilton, and Johnson counties. All of those requests had been approved by the commission a year ago, but failed during the 2010-2011 legislative session because of money concerns.

The committee also supported two new magistrates for Hendricks Superior Court and adding a new judge in Owen County, though for the latter that new judge wouldn’t start until 2015 in order to avoid financial impact on the upcoming budget cycle.

Members also heard and discussed a request from Marion Circuit Court to convert one of the existing four paternity commissioners that are paid by the county to a state-paid magistrate. Commissioner Mark Renner presented the idea on behalf of Circuit Judge Lou Rosenberg, who reported that weighted caseload data shows the court is the busiest in the state and the conversion is needed so that one of the existing judicial officers can take on a supervisory role.

Renner said that the Marion Superior courts as well as other Circuit Courts statewide have the ability to appoint magistrates, but Marion Circuit does not. The conversion is also needed in order to address the perception issues that he said currently exists, with four equal commissioner positions.

This would essentially involve making one of those four commissioners a magistrate, so that they are paid by the state instead of the county. Renner said current commissioners earn $112,000 from the county and the estimated cost of a new magistrate would be $130,000 – meaning the state would be responsible for the difference of about $17,000.

The committee voted in support of the request, with only Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, objecting. Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, said he saw the need for the new magistrate, while Randolph said he didn’t see what benefit the state would receive from paying for that magistrate – especially since the Circuit judge already has the ability to put one of the existing commissioners in charge without any change from the Legislature.

“You get the perception, and we get the debt,” he told Renner during the meeting.

The commission voted to approve the final report that will be sent to the General Assembly, subject to its completion by the committee’s staff attorney and subsequent review by members.

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  1. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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