The Indiana Supreme Court is increasing the minimum number of senior judge service days available to the state’s courts as a means of enabling courts to provide timely justice to litigants.
The high court announced this week it is increasing the minimum number of days allotted to courts from 10 to 15 and is reviewing other factors in allotting senior judge days. Specifically, the court’s chief administrative officer will now consider committee and judicial conference assignments, prior usage and medical needs, among other factors, when recommending the permissible number of senior judge days. Those factors will be considered in addition to the weighted caseload measurement system and annual statistical reports, pursuant to Administrative Rule 5(B)(2).
“With this increase in Senior Judge days and other adjustments, the Court hopes to encourage the use of Senior Judges in lieu of the utilization of attorneys as pro tem judges,” Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote in a Dec. 20 order.
The court’s order also changed the process by which courts can request additional senior judge days. Now, all such requests must be made in writing to the CAO prior to a court exceeding its annual allotment. Rush also noted the senior judge webpage provides a spreadsheet of reported usage for each court, so judges should look to that resource to review their usage by July of each year.
“Requests for additional senior judge service days made after the court’s allotment has already been exceeded will be frowned upon,” the chief justice wrote.
Finally, the order allowed the chief judges in counties with unified courts to assign the total number of senior judge days to those courts “without reference to limitations imposed upon individual courts by this Order.” The Indiana Court of Appeals and Tax Court were also authorized to use senior judge days to facilitate their court business.