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Marion County Small Claims bill may be headed for study committee

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Legislation that would require Marion County Small Claims judges to select among themselves an administrative judge to carry out the duties currently performed by the Marion Circuit judge passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The committee also is asking for a study committee to look at Small Claims court administration.

Senate Bill 366, authored by Sens. Scott Schneider and R. Michael Young, Republicans from Indianapolis, creates a small claims administrative judge position within the court. The administrative judge will have several duties, including adopting uniform rules for conducting the business of the Small Claims courts. The administrator will serve for a minimum term of 12 months.  

SB 366 also asks the Legislative Council to assign to the Commission on Courts or other study committee the tasks of studying small claims court administration, the distribution of judicial resources in small claims actions, and other related matters.

Marion County’s Small Claims courts have been under scrutiny for several years over practices perceived to favor heavy-volume debt collection filers, allegations of forum shopping, and other problems that have come to light.

Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson urged legislators to reform the courts in his State of the Judiciary Address earlier this month.

SB 366 also addresses garnishment, making changes to the maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an individual for any workweek that is subjected to garnishment to enforce the payment of judgments against the individual. Upon a showing of cause, the minimum garnishment could be as little as 10 percent of a person’s disposable earnings. I.C. 24-4.5-5-105 currently allows 25 percent of disposable earnings to be garnisheed to satisfy judgments.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also passed Senate Bill 109. The bill requires Indiana justices and judges on the Court of Appeals to retire at the age that judges of the Circuit and Superior courts are required to retire. Currently, justices and appeals judges are required to step down when they turn 75. Trial court judges have no mandatory retirement age.
 

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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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