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Filings continue to drop, as does funding for Indiana courts

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A sharp decline in infraction and ordinance-violation cases is among factors that resulted in courts around the state collecting considerably less revenue, according to data released in the annual Judicial Service Reports.

The exhaustive reports on Indiana trial and appellate courts, “Honored to Serve,” document an 8.6 percent decrease in infraction case filings and an 11.2 percent drop in ordinance violations over the past decade. Infractions continue to represent the single largest class of case filings, with just fewer than 450,000 such cases filed last year, according to the report.

Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Division of State Court Administration Executive Director Lilia Judson released more than 1,800 pages of data tabulating the work of courts around the state Nov. 4.

Among the findings from the survey of court activity in 2012:

• Murder cases were the highest in a decade, with 235 charges filed around the state. Murder filings jumped about 18 percent compared with 2011, which saw the fewest murder charges filed in more than a decade.

• Mortgage foreclosures jumped 10 percent over filings in 2011. A total of 33,876 cases were filed, though that total is well below the 40,000-45,000 cases filed during 2006-2010, the depths of the recession.

• Jury trials were slightly more common. The 1,338 jury trials conducted in 2012 marked a 3 percent increase from 2011.

Data from the Judicial Service Report may be viewed at www.courts.in.gov/admin/3118.htm.•

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  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.

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