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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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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