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Economy and waning tax revenue put strain on courts

IL Staff
June 19, 2012
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The Indiana University Public Policy Institute, a part of IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, released an issue brief Tuesday saying that Indiana’s courts are doing more with less as a result of the nation’s economic downturn, reduced local funding and increased demand.
 
“This is an important example of how the economy and local-government budget restrictions affect public services and the public well-being,” said Public Policy Institute Executive in Residence and retired Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard. “In this case, there is a direct impact on Hoosiers’ access to effective and timely justice.”

In addition to examining how budget cuts affect the delivery of judicial services, the brief, titled “Courts and the Economy,” addresses how courts’ financial challenges could have an impact on local and state economies. It also considers how other states are shifting more judicial funding from local governments to the state to increase the efficiencies, effectiveness and equity of judicial services.

Since 1994, Indiana case filings have increased 27 percent and the cost per filing increased from $78 to $106, according to the study. In 2010, Indiana state and local governments spent nearly $400 million to fund judicial operations, with 66 percent of that total coming from county and municipal governments that were hit hard by the recession of 2008 and by the state’s constitutional amendment capping property tax rates.

“To maintain fiscal discipline, Indiana’s courts were forced to lay off technology and support staff, to freeze salaries, and to reduce overall budget sizes,” the report noted.

The report pointed out that federal cuts forced Indiana Legal Services, which provides legal assistance to low-income Hoosiers, to reduce its budget by 17 percent from 2011 to 2012. In addition, the Marion County Law Library, which provided legal materials to individuals who represent themselves in civil cases, closed as a result of budget cuts.

“Indiana courts have withstood the worst of the 2008 recession, but a revenue-constrained environment in local government creates significant uncertainty for future years,” the report concludes. “The Indiana judiciary can be cautiously optimistic for its future and should use the lessons from other states on how best to improve court operations.”

The full report can be viewed online.

 

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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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