ILNews

Judicial Conference: Southern District needs judge

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A new permanent federal judgeship is needed in Indiana ;s Southern District of the U.S. District Court, according to the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The federal judicial policymaking group voted Tuesday to ask Congress to create 67 new federal judgeships – 15 for the Circuit courts and 52 for the District courts. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago isn ;t being considered for an increase, but a new judicial officer in the Southern District division would add one to the current roster of five – which has been the number since 1978. The Southern District also has eight magistrates. In comparison, the Northern District of Indiana has five judges, three magistrates, and a senior judge.

Congress has increased the number of District Court judges by 4 percent since 1990 but has not increased the number of circuit appellate judges even though case filings have risen about 55 percent in that period.

In other matters

• The conference also endorsed a 6- to 12-month pilot project allowing several courts to make digital audio recordings of courtroom proceedings publicly available online through the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system. They have been available for purchase at clerks ; offices but not online. Locations of the courts haven ;t been established, but the plan says it will likely be up to the discretion of District judges and where judges volunteer to be included.

• Members also urged all federal courts using electronic dockets to end practices of creating "secret" dockets by making cases seemingly vanish online when sealed. Instead, the conference wants courts to clearly indicate when cases are sealed by using computer notices that say "case under seal" rather than "case does not exist."

• The conference also authorized and directed its Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability to recommend guidelines and new rules for implementing the judicial disability statute in a uniform manner throughout the federal system. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in Indianapolis was part of a committee that studied this issue and released a report in September. That report will now be used as guidance for what needs to be done.
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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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