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Lake County fee bill moves forward

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The House Judiciary Committee met this morning to consider five bills that included assessing a $10 fee for Lake County court filings, which would be used to fund a consolidated judicial center.

Voting on the Lake County legislation, the committee voted 7-3 to send House Bill 1435 on to the full House for consideration. Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, proposed the bill, which would establish a fund aimed at financing, constructing, and equipping a Lake County judicial center in or near Crown Point. The fund for a consolidated judicial center comes on the heels of a 2007 study recommending many ways that local government could be more efficient.

If enacted, a $10 fee would be charged on any filing in Lake's Circuit or Superior courts, and in which a person is convicted of an offense, required to pay a pretrial diversion fee, or found to have committed an infraction or ordinance violation.

Lake Superior Judge Diane Kavadias Schneider wrote a letter supporting the bill, and Lake County Bar Association past president Gerald Bishop spoke in favor of the plan. He described this as a "bricks and mortar" bill that's a "no brainer" for the General Assembly, since it can help local officials self-fund a judicial center and become more efficient overall.

Bishop said attorneys must often travel to various courthouses in the county, frequently for hearings that may last only 15 minutes but aren't able to be done by telephone conference because the courts can't afford the equipment to make that option a reality, he said. As a result, the costs trickle down to clients.

With more than 100,000 cases filed annually in Lake County, this $10 fee could amount to $1 million for a new centralized judicial center, Bishop said.

Some lawmakers hesitated, voicing concerns about why this type of construction isn't being funded by a county action rather than a state law - and how county officials have historically not opted to hike taxes locally as others have done throughout Indiana to pay for court renovations or building projects.

Rep. Wes Culver, R-Goshen, noted his concern about allowing this money to be used to renovate existing buildings, which could postpone a new project indefinitely. Bishop responded that prohibiting that would stall change, as a new judicial center is many years off.

Ultimately, the bill got enough support from committee members to move on.

Other bills that passed out of committee after discussion were: HB 1175 that sets up a structure for protecting victims' rights in juvenile criminal cases; HB 1062 would allow a court to waive the two-year wrongful death statute of limitations in murder cases; HB 1077 creates special tool liens; HB 1578 amends state statute on GPS monitoring and restraining orders.

The full House met this afternoon and had multiple court and legal system-related bills to consider, including a measure on second reading calling for the election - rather than merit-selection and retention - of St. Joseph Superior judges. Indiana Lawyer's Statehouse Report has a rundown of relevant legislation and you can also read more coverage in the Feb. 18-March 3, 2009, issue of IL.

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  1. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  2. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

  3. wow is this a bunch of bs! i know the facts!

  4. MCBA .... time for a new release about your entire membership (or is it just the alter ego) being "saddened and disappointed" in the failure to lynch a police officer protecting himself in the line of duty. But this time against Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation: "WASHINGTON — Justice Department lawyers will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., after an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges, law enforcement officials said Wednesday." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/us/justice-department-ferguson-civil-rights-darren-wilson.html?ref=us&_r=0

  5. Dr wail asfour lives 3 hours from the hospital,where if he gets an emergency at least he needs three hours,while even if he is on call he should be in a location where it gives him max 10 minutes to be beside the patient,they get paid double on their on call days ,where look how they handle it,so if the death of the patient occurs on weekend and these doctors still repeat same pattern such issue should be raised,they should be closer to the patient.on other hand if all the death occured on the absence of the Dr and the nurses handle it,the nurses should get trained how to function appearntly they not that good,if the Dr lives 3 hours far from the hospital on his call days he should sleep in the hospital

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