Senator wants no mandates

December 21, 2009
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Senate Joint Resolution 0002 is not likely to get the fanfare and attention that property tax caps, education, and health care will receive in the 2010 General Assembly, but if it eventually passes, it will have as much as an impact on the general community as any other issue.

SJR 0002 wants to prohibit any court established by the General Assembly – appellate or local courts – from issuing a mandate, order, or other writ requiring the state or a political subdivision of the state from spending money on the operation of any court in the state.

The resolution would alter Article 7 of the Indiana Constitution by inserting language preventing the Indiana Supreme Court, Indiana Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts, or any other court established by the legislature from ordering the state, counties, cities, or any other subdivisions of the state, to pay for court operation costs. Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, authored the resolution.

There’s no doubt this is a cost-savings measure that some legislators feel is necessary given the state of the economy in Indiana right now. Everyone’s looking to do more with less, but amending the constitution to prevent courts from ordering the state or county to help pay for court costs may do more harm than good.

Where will this money come from if the state or county won’t foot the bill? Courts will be forced to cut staff and hours, which will lead to an increase in a backlog of cases. If courts refuse to cut staff, will the money have to come from an increase court fees the public will have to pay?

Judicial mandates don’t happen often, and they are usually used when judges believe their courts need the state or county money to keep operating at a functional level. Two of the last three that I’m aware of dealt with pay raises for court staff. The judges in these cases were worried they’d lose their staff to higher-paying jobs, especially when the staffers had been denied pay raises by the councils controlling the money.

If SJR2 passes this year, it will still have to be approved by a second General Assembly before voters have the chance to ratify the constitution.

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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.