ILNews

Court reform plan starts with enhanced education proposal

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

As part of a larger court reform plan, the governing board of the Judicial Conference of Indiana wants more required education for judges at the state appellate and trial levels.

The board voted unanimously for enhanced educational requirements and has forwarded a proposed rule change to the Indiana Supreme Court for consideration. No timetable exists for when justices must decide that.

Currently, Indiana judges must obtain at least 36 hours for every three-year reporting period, and they must have at least six hours of Continuing Legal Education each year as well as no more than 12 hours of non-legal subject matter courses. Three ethics hours also are required every three years.

Under the new rule proposal, the Judicial Education Committee recommends that judges would need at least 54 hours every three years, or 15 hours annually, and no more than 18 hours could be in non-legal subjects. An extra two hours of ethics learning would be required every three-year period, too.

This would be mandatory for any state level judicial officer, which includes appellate judges and justices, trial judges, magistrates, and full-time commissioners and referees. Requirements for senior judges, part-time court officers, and city and town court judges wouldn’t change.

The point is to ensure that jurists have more educational requirements than the practicing attorneys who come before them. Court leaders say that is mostly the case now, but this would make it mandatory.

This educational rule enhancement is part of the state judiciary’s broad court reform plan unveiled in September, which sets out long-term plans and priorities for improving the Indiana court system through improved education, streamlining and reorganizing court operations and structures, uniform state funding, and an examination of statewide judicial selection.

“Implementation of the strategic plan is moving forward,” said Marion Superior Judge Mark Stoner, who co-chairs the Strategic Planning Committee. “The first step is to require enhanced education for judges which will ensure they are given the tools to improve their skills and knowledge of the law. Better educated judges will improve the quality of justice for citizens.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

ADVERTISEMENT