Bill seeks to give Indiana appellate judges more time on the bench

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Sen. James Buck is again pushing to increase the mandatory retirement age for Indiana appellate judges.

The Kokomo Republican has introduced a bill that would raise the retirement age for justices of the Indiana Supreme court and judges of the Indiana Court of Appeals to 80 years old. Under current law, members of the appellate bench must retire when they turn 75.

Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, is listed as a co-author of the measure.

The bill will get a hearing shortly after the Indiana Legislature convenes Jan. 6 for the 2015 session. Buck’s legislation, Senate Bill 12, is on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda for its Jan. 7 meeting at 10 a.m. in Room 130 of the Indiana Statehouse.  

Buck introduced a similar measure, Senate Bill 124, in 2013. That legislation would have eliminated the state’s mandatory retirement age for the appellate judiciary altogether. The bill passed the Senate, 36 to 12, but it stalled in the House of Representative’s Committee on Courts and Criminal Code.

According to an analysis by the Legislative Services Agency, the net cost of SB 12 would likely be minimal. While extending the retirement age may increase future payments for some judges from the judges’ retirement system, the LSA determined judges who delay retirement would likely draw those benefits for a shorter time which would offset any increase in pension liability.

The agency also noted that as of Oct. 1, 2014, the average age of an Indiana appellate judge was 62. The oldest member of the appellate bench was 73 years old and the youngest was 44 years old.


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