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Justice touts Odyssey, counties seek addition judicial officers

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The Commission on Courts meeting Wednesday contained some familiar elements: Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan testified regarding Odyssey and two trial judges have once again asked for an additional judicial officer.

Justice Sullivan kicked off the meeting, giving commission members an update on the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee project, Odyssey, a case management system being implemented in counties. The justice touted the benefits of counties utilizing the voluntary CMS, and showed videos to enhance his message.

A commission member asked a question regarding data mining the information maintained by Odyssey, to which Justice Sullivan replied the information could be helpful to legislators to do their work, and that there are limitless opportunities for analysis of the data. He cited funding recently given to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute by the federal government to study the issue of racial profiling of traffic stops.

Justice Sullivan also explained how this year’s cut by the General Assembly to the automated record keeping fee, which funds Odyssey, will impact implementation of the system. The fee decreased from $7 to $5 on July 1. He said they’ve had to reduce staff size somewhat and are in the process of re-writing consulting contracts. The fee reduction will also slow down the rate at which Odyssey can be installed.

Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts, who is also a member of the Commission on Courts, testified on behalf of his county asking to replace an Allen Circuit Court hearing officer with a magistrate position. He said this is the third or fourth time he has come with the request. One of the reasons he cited for wanting to make John Kitch a magistrate is that he wants to be able to keep him as an employee.

Owen Circuit Judge Frank Nardi also came with request that he has made before the commission in the past – he seeks a new judge. Currently, Circuit Court consists of him and a part-time referee. He said he would like separate independent courts: that could be done with the creation of a Superior Court or another Circuit Court, or the referee could be made into a magistrate.

Hendricks Superior Judges Robert Freese and Stephenie LeMay-Luken requested the addition of up to two magistrates. Judge Freese cited the population growth in Hendricks County and how the county has one judge per 24,000 people. The state averages about 16,000 people per judge. Ideally, they’d like the new magistrate or magistrates to begin July 1, 2012 or Jan. 1, 2013.

The judges presented a letter signed by the five Superior Court judges supporting the request. Judge Freese noted that Circuit Judge Jeffrey Boles doesn’t believe there is a need for new magistrates.

Also at the meeting, Judge Nardi announced that he would not be running for re-election. He has been on the bench since 1983.

The commission set its next meeting for Sept. 15, which chairperson Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, noted would likely be their last meeting.

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  1. Such things are no more elections than those in the late, unlamented Soviet Union.

  2. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  3. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  4. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  5. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

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