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State of the Judiciary touches on economy

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The state's top judge this afternoon addressed a joint session of the Indiana General Assembly for the annual State of the Judiciary, focusing on how the courts can help rebuild the state and country's battered confidence caused by economic turmoil.

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard stood before lawmakers and fellow judges in the Indiana House of Representatives for the 2 p.m. address, the 22nd time he's done so. The Evansville native took the chief justice spot in 1987, two years after joining the Indiana Supreme Court, but gave his first official update on the judiciary's accomplishments and challenges in 1988.

The tough economy was the backdrop of Chief Justice Shepard's address this year, and he touched on family pressures and the foreclosure crisis and how fallout from those issues shows up in court, and how the judiciary is stepping up to contribute to that road of recovery.

"Effective and reliable courts are especially important in times when the public and private sectors are so pressed," Chief Justice Shepard said. "Just as trust in the mechanics of finance empowers the real economy, effective and reliable courts are a key part of the engine that keeps America going."

Focusing on families, the chief justice noted how Indiana has pushed for every abused or neglected child to have an advocate, how 72 of the state's 92 counties are using an electronic notification system that alerts law enforcement as soon as a domestic violence protective order is issued, and how local correctional programs are being strengthened while drug and alcohol courts are being established more frequently statewide.

On the foreclosure issue, Chief Justice Shepard noted how Indiana has a system emulated by other states where pro bono attorneys are helping people who have civil legal problems but can't afford to hire a lawyer.

The chief justice also pointed to an effort by the Judicial Conference of Indiana's governing board to reform the state court system, which involves upgrading judicial and staff education, building more collaboration between judges in various counties, increasing state support and funding of trial courts, and reforming how trial judges are selected statewide.

"In the midst of so much gloom, this will be a message that conveys hope about the future of our nation and our state."

Both the text and a webcast of the chief justice's address are online at http://www.in.gov/judiciary.

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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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