ILNews

Terre Haute federal courthouse opens Monday

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After years of debate as to whether Terre Haute would keep a U.S. District Court, a new federal courthouse is set to open Aug. 24.

Construction began on the 14,000 square-foot building last summer that will house the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District, clerks' offices for both courts, and the U.S Probation Office. The U.S. Attorney's Office and U.S. Marshals Service will also have space within the building.

The new building was needed because the current federal building no longer met the security requirements for federal buildings. The courts also shared space with the U.S. Post Office, which wanted more space for postal operations. USPS made the decision to stop leasing space in the federal building in 2000, forcing the courts to look for alternative locations.

In September 2005, a decision was made to close the District Court in Terre Haute, but less than a year later, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C., confirmed that the location would remain open.

The current federal building will be converted by Indiana State University for its School of Business. The new courthouse will incorporate furniture and features from the current courthouse.

The Terre Haute Division will have limited operations Friday as the move is made to 921 Ohio St. in Terre Haute. Starting Aug. 24, phone numbers will change to:

- U.S. District Court Clerk's Office: (812) 231-1840

- U.S. Bankruptcy Court Clerk's Office (812) 231-1850

- U.S. District and Bankruptcy Court Fax: (812) 231-1844

- U.S. Probation Office: (812) 231-1855

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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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