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Judiciary announces court reforms

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The Indiana Judicial Conference unveiled its "roadmap for the future" today for the Indiana courts, which included consolidating courts and creating a uniform system to select trial judges. At the Indiana Judicial Conference, Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard discussed the long-term strategic plan's goals to improve the professionalism, efficiency, and effectiveness of the state's judiciary.

After 15 meetings across Indiana beginning in December 2008, the Strategic Planning Committee produced the 27-page document as a blueprint detailing the judiciary's vision for the future. The document isn't intended to be a detailed implementation plan ready for adoption by the legislature, but is an aspiration and vision for the future.

Some areas identified for improvement include increasing CLE requirements for judges and developing minimum standards for court staff; incorporating city, town, and township small claims courts into the trial courts; providing state funding for courts and court-related services; and reducing the seven different methods of selecting trial court judges in the state to a uniform system.

The plan calls for state funding of the trial courts in order to allocate resources fairly. Currently, the state pays for some salaries and court programs and county councils pay for other salaries and programs. Figures aren't yet available on the impact of funding changes.

Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker and Marion Superior Judge Mark Stoner are co-chairs of the Strategic Planning Committee. They say Indiana's complex court system needs to be changed so that it's clear and easy for citizens to understand. Duplication of efforts and inefficiencies that cost taxpayers money should be streamlined or eliminated.

Some aspects of the plan are ready to be implemented, including those dealing with education and training.

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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  5. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

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