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Rush addresses needs of court ‘customers’ in State of the Judiciary

January 16, 2019

With applause amplified from all corners of the Indiana General Assembly’s House Chamber, the leader of the Indiana Supreme Court declared that the state judiciary is “sound, steady and strong” in 2019.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush shared her thoughts and focus for the upcoming year during the 2019 State of the Judiciary address Wednesday. She presented to a joint session of the Indiana General Assembly and more than 75 judges from across the state.

With a theme of “Addressing the Needs of our Customers,” the judiciary plans to emphasize quality customer service to court users in 2019.

“It’s not common for us to call court users customers. Justice is not for sale, and we don’t have a product that can be changed to satisfy the needs of every person,” Rush said to the crowd. “But what we do have is a constitutional charge to provide open, accessible and fair courts. That is achieved only when we place litigants, victims, witnesses, jurors — all court customers — at the center of every equation, just as our courthouses are at the center of every community.”

Rush specifically thanked the trial court judges in attendance, stating that there was no one she would rather see standing at the center of Indiana communities, because that means judicial customers are the center of everything.

The chief justice also highlighted the state’s improving court technologies. Referencing back to then-Chief Justice Randall Shepard’s pledge to make the judiciary cheaper, faster, simpler by announcing that the court would, for the first time ever, accept paperwork via fax machine.

“That decision laid the foundation for today’s electronic filing, which accepts a half-million electronic documents each month,” Rush said. “We’ve stuck with the cheaper-faster-simpler mantra because it allows us to concentrate on customer-focused service.”

She additionally addressed the judiciary’s desire to continue to attack the state’s opioid epidemic, helping vulnerable children and families through Family Recovery Court and providing access to justice through civil legal aid.

Transcripts and video of the 2019 State of the Judiciary, as well as past addresses, are available here.

Look for more on the 2019 State of the Judiciary in the Jan. 23 issue of Indiana Lawyer.

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