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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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