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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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