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Court: Conference constitutes 'congestion'

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A Marion Superior judge didn't err by continuing a jury trial because a mandatory judicial conference resulted in too few judges and magistrates being available, the Indiana Supreme Court has reiterated in an order.

In the order issued Oct. 16, justices denied a woman's request for a writ of mandamus.

The case involved a woman's felony domestic battery charge and the subsequent speedy trial she requested. After her arrest in July and a bond hearing that month, she made the procedural request and the trial court - Marion Superior Criminal Division 16 - set her trial for Sept. 17. However, there were too few judicial officers available to handle Roxie Brown's trial because the court calendar didn't lighten as usual and a statutorily mandated Indiana Judicial Conference in Indianapolis Sept. 16-18.

Judge Kimberly Brown continued the proceeding because of court congestion until the "next earliest reasonable time" - Oct. 22; after hearings denying a change, Roxie Brown filed a writ request Oct. 5.

Roxie Brown argued that the trial court's scheduling of her hearing on one of the conference dates rendered the trial date "meaningless" and said she should be released through speedy trial Criminal Rule 4(b), which requires a trial within 70 days unless there's a reasonable continuance or another specific delay. But the Indiana Attorney General's Office disagreed, writing in its opposition brief that the notion was absurd and court officers could have been available if they'd been able to condense the calendar, as often happens in the months between the scheduling and the proceeding itself.

The issue isn't new. The Indiana Court of Appeals considered the issue more than a decade ago, when it decided Sholar v. State, 626 N.E.2d 547, 549 (Ind. 1993). That decision found no abuse in a trial court's discretion by delaying the trial because of a judicial conference judges and magistrates were required to attend.

If Roxie Brown continues to dispute the scheduling and continuance of her speedy trial process, the AG's Office suggested in its brief that she could raise the issue on appeal.

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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