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Justices: Center Township Small Claims court stays put

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What’s been called the state’s busiest court will stay in the City-County Building in Indianapolis, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered Friday, blocking the Center Township trustee’s bid to relocate the court to a location on Fall Creek Parkway.

“We approve the renovations, additional staff, and the mandate prohibiting the relocation of the court. We disapprove the mandated salary increases,” Justice Robert Rucker wrote for the court in In Re Mandate of Funds for Center Township of Marion County Small Claims Court Order for Mandate and Mandate of Funds,  
49S00-1207-MF-420.  “We affirm the decree of the special judge.”

Justices unanimously affirmed the special judge Charles E. Berger, whose decree largely endorsed Center Township of Marion County Judge Michelle Smith Scott’s mandate for funds to reconfigure the small claims court location and hire additional staff in its present location, the same building that houses Marion Circuit and Superior Courts.

Scott also objected to Township Trustee Eugene Akers’ control of court staff and his push to move the court to the Julia Carson Center on Fall Creek Parkway, where more than $500,000 was spent to renovate space for a courtroom.

"On review of this mandate order, our job is not to assess whether the Carson Center would be a 'better' location for the court. Rather, we must determine whether the record contains substantial evidence of probative value that there is a clear and present danger of impairment to the court or court functions if the court is not maintained and reconfigured in its present location. We find that it does," Rucker wrote.

The opinion notes the central location of the court in the township and that it is well served by mass transit routes easily accessible around the township. “We also find it relevant that the court in this case, as with most small claims courts, hears a substantial volume of consumer collection cases and landlord-tenant disputes such as evictions.

“According to a comprehensive study of legal needs of the poor in Indiana, it is precisely these types of cases that most frequently plague low-income Hoosiers,” Rucker wrote. “(I)t is also worth noting that the Center Township Small Claims Court is not only in the same building, but is on the same floor as courts handling paternity and child support, domestic violence, and protective orders – services also of particular relevance to this demographic.

 “We conclude the record is replete with probative evidence that moving the Center Township Small Claims Court away from its present location poses a clear and present danger to access to justice for the litigants it serves, and that maintaining and upgrading the Court in its present location is reasonably necessary to preserve that access,” the opinion states.

The ruling also will add two full-time staff members in the court and states that Akers “shall relinquish control over Court functions, and that authority over its employees and its financial operations shall be vested solely in the Court.”



 





 

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  • Court badly in need of bailiffs
    We process a good amount of evictions here and sadly some tenants refuse to leave after being so ordered to by the court. Normally, in other townships, it is simply a phone call to the bailiff, then schedule with the moving co, and they complete a forced move out. Unfortunately, in Center, the bailiffs refuse to return calls in the first 15 days at a minimum, hoping that the "issue will resolve itself". We have filed complaints with the court, which is hilarious as no one in this city knows who actually oversees the bailiffs. To no avail, as the issue persists. The bailiffs here are either lazy or incompetent, either way, we need bailiffs that want to perform their duties.

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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