Indiana now may have more senior judges than ever before.
The number of trial judges who retired or left the bench at the end of 2008 was at the highest level in recent memory, and many have opted to continue their judicial services in a part-time capacity. That's pushed the senior judge roster to a record level, Indiana Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said.
A total of 108 jurists are on the roster, which is about 30 more than were listed a year ago, according to Dolan. The state's highest court issued an order at year's end that appointed new senior judges and allows others to continue in that role for 2009, specifying the courts where they can serve. Five serve at the appellate level.
This year marks the 20th that senior judging is allowed in Indiana, after lawmakers authorized the senior judge department in 1989 under the Supreme Court's control. The goal has been to use the services of retired or former judges to supplement existing judicial resources, whether it's in the absence of a regular judge, to complement a colleague's work, or to take on certain cases or programs.
The court is allowed to appoint new senior judges anytime throughout the year and can adjust the list as needed.