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


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues