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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. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  2. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  3. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  4. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

  5. What form or who do I talk to about a d felony which I hear is classified as a 6 now? Who do I talk to. About to get my degree and I need this to go away it's been over 7 years if that helps.

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