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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. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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