Judicial Administration

April 9, 2015 | Category: Administration

The House Ways and Means Committee heard SB 217, sponsored by Reps. Gutwein, McNamara and Lawson, on service of process fees collected by a sheriff. This bill requires a sheriff to collect a service of process fee of $25 instead of $13 from a party requesting service of a writ, an order, a process, a notice, a tax warrant, or any other paper completed by the sheriff. It also provides that a sheriff may collect an additional fee for post-judgment service. This additional money will help fund the sheriffs’ pension fund. An amendment was adopted by consent that clarifies that the $25 fee can only be charged once per case. The amended bill passed 24-0.

Judicial Administration

April 2, 2015 | Category: Administration

The House Judiciary Committee heard SB 2 concerning service of process sponsored by Rep. Mayfield and Rep. Cox. Author Sen. Steele explained that this bill clarifies the cost of services to be paid from court fees and addresses service/process issues. This bill specifies that “registered or certified mail” includes any means of delivery that provides a return receipt. The bill also provides that the cost of service to not more than two parties may be paid from court fees and requires a person who requests a circuit court clerk to send an additional mailing by registered or certified mail to provide: (1) an addressed envelope with postage prepaid; (2) the United States Postal Service or other forms for registered or certified mail; and (3) the United States Postal Service fee or other fee for service by registered or certified mail. Rep. Mayfield also explained that that this legislation will save counties money by clarifying the number of mailings permitted with each filing.  The bill passed 10-0.

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 523, sponsored by Rep. Frizzell and Rep. Behning, on Marion County small claims courts. This bill was amended to:

  1. make the small claims courts in Marion County courts of record after July 1, 2018;
  2. make small claims courts full time courts before 2018 unless the township board objects, and full-time courts after 2018 by operation of law;
  3. sets the annual salary of a full time small claims court judge at 80% of the salary of a Marion County circuit or superior court judge;
  4. increase the jurisdictional amount to $8,000 on July 1, 2018;
  5. require courts to use the Odyssey case management system; and,
  6. define “low caseload court” and require certain fees to be transferred to low caseload courts.

The amended bill passed 10-0.

The Senate Appropriations Committee heard HB 1110, sponsored by Sens. Steele, Grooms, and Randolph, adding various magistrates. This bill allows:

  1. the judges of the Clark circuit court to jointly appoint a third full-time magistrate;
  2. the judge of the Greene circuit court and the judge of the Greene superior court to jointly appoint one full-time magistrate;
  3. the judges of the Madison circuit court to jointly appoint a second full-time magistrate;
  4. the judges of the Marion superior court to appoint four additional full-time magistrates after December 31, 2015;
  5. the judge of the Porter circuit court to appoint one full-time magistrate;
  6. the judge of the Vanderburgh circuit court to appoint a second full-time magistrate.
  7. The judge of the St. Joseph circuit court to appoint one additional full-time magistrate, without considering the political affiliation of a candidate for magistrate, for a total of three full-time magistrates; and,
  8. The judges of the St. Joseph superior court to jointly appoint two additional full-time magistrates for a total of four full-time magistrates, not more than two of whom may be from the same political party.

This bill also allows a magistrate to approve:

  1. criminal plea agreements;
  2. agreed settlements concerning civil matters; and
  3. decrees of dissolution, settlement agreements, and any other agreements of the parties in domestic relations actions or paternity actions.

Additionally, it provides that meetings of the St. Joseph Judicial Nominating Commission must be held at a place in the St. Joseph County courthouse or another building owned or operated by St. Joseph County in South Bend as the clerk of the St. Joseph superior court may arrange. The bill was amended by consent to remove the authority of the Sullivan circuit and superior court judges to jointly appoint a full-time magistrate as of July 1, 2016 and provides that the term of a full-time magistrate appointed by the Sullivan circuit and superior court judges ends not later than July 1, 2016. The amendment also urges the legislative council to assign to a study committee the topic of the appropriate number of judges in Pulaski County. Individuals from Sullivan County testified against the bill. The amended bill passed 11-0.

Judicial Administration

March 27, 2015 | Category: Administration

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 137, sponsored by Rep. Fine and Rep. Slager, on magistrates and criminal trials, prohibiting a magistrate’s presiding at sentencing when (1) the magistrate had not also presided at trial and (2) the defendant objected to the magistrate presiding at sentencing. Author Sen. Randolph presented the bill to the Committee.  A technical amendment was made to make the language in the bill consistent with terminology used in the Indiana Supreme Court Criminal Rules. The bill passed as amended 9-0.

The House Judiciary Committee heard SB 217, sponsored by Reps. Gutwein, McNamara, and Lawson, concerning service of process fees collected by a sheriff.  Author Sen. Boots explained that this bill increases the service of process fee from $13 to $25 from a party requesting service of a writ, an order, a process, a notice, a tax warrant, or any other paper completed by the sheriff. The bill also provides that the sheriff may collect an additional service of process fee for post-judgment service.  Testimony was received by the Association of Indiana Counties and Indiana Sheriffs Association in favor of the bill. The bill passed 11-0.

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 261, sponsored by Rep. Cox, allowing interlocutory criminal appeals by the Attorney General of a trial court’s order dismissing charges. Author Sen. Young presented the bill that was amended in the Senate to add a subsection (b) which would allow the State to challenge the sentence imposed in any appeal by a defendant, even if the defendant had not raised the sentence as an issue in his appeal. After testimony was received in favor of the bill without the added subsection, the Committee adopted an amendment deleting subsection (b) and passed the bill as amended 9-0.

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 523, Sen. R. Michael Young’s bill to make changes to the Marion County Small Claims courts, sponsored by Rep. Frizzell. Sen. Young explained that decisions by the Indiana Supreme Court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on venue within the small claims court had adversely affected the caseload balances between the individual township small claims courts, which diminished the fee revenues for a number of the courts to the point where they were no longer able to operate on the fee collections alone as they had in the past. Sen. Young stated the bill will overcome venue problems by creating three small claims court “districts,” each consisting of three of the nine townships with a small claims court in each township.  This would allow case filings by district, which he said would help alleviate caseload imbalances and the resulting revenue problems. The small claims judges would become full time with salaries equal to 70% of a circuit court judge’s salary. The bill would also raise the court’s jurisdictional level from the current $6,000 amount-in-controversy cap to $8,000, which Sen. Young said would result in more filings in the small claims court, helping increase their operating revenue, and reducing filings in the Marion Superior Court, helping lower that court’s caseload burdens. The bill would have the Decatur and Franklin township courts, which have had the most serious reductions in operating funds, each receive $1 of the docket fees for filings in the other seven township courts.  Candidates in small claims court elections would run at-large within the three-township districts, with the three candidates receiving the greatest number of votes in the district being elected. The elected candidates could agree between themselves as to which township court each would serve in, but if no agreement could be reached the Marion Circuit Court judge would assign the judges to their courts.

Sen. Young then presented Amendment 2, which he said he had drafted after meeting with Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush.  He noted that “there’s a lot more they [the Supreme Court] want than is in this bill,” and said that he had asked the Chief Justice for the items the Court considers most needed. He said she had responded favorably to his proposal that there be a General Assembly summer study committee examination of small claims issues generally. He reported that she had said a desirable reform would be to make the small claims courts courts of record, which led Sen. Young to provide in his amendment that the small claims court would have three years to acquire the necessary equipment to become a court of record. He said the Chief Justice also said it was essential for there to be uniform practices and procedures in the nine township courts, which Sen. Young’s amendment would require to be in place by January 1, 2016.  Sen. Young also said that the Chief Justice had said that a case management system should be implemented, which he said his amendment would require to be in place by July 1, 2016.

Testimony on the bill was then received from Judge John Baker of the Court of Appeals, who described previous small claims court reform studies made first by a task force he had chaired with Court of Appeals Senior Judge Betty Barteau, second by the Indianapolis Bar Association, and third by the National Center for State Courts. Judge Baker said that Chief Justice Rush appreciated Sen. Young’s willingness to incorporate some of the Supreme Court’s major concerns in the bill, but the Judge urged the Committee to commit the small claims court issues to a legislative summer study committee for a full-spectrum assessment rather than pass SB 523 now. Further testimony was received for and against the bill from Marion Small Claims Court judges. Sen. Greg Taylor, Rep. Cherrish Pryor, and former Rep. William Crawford all urged the Committee to not pass the bill and instead send the small claims court issues to a summer study committee. In Committee discussion, five members thought it best to send the small claims court issues to a study committee, noting that after all the reform assessments there was still significant disagreement among those involved as to what should be done. Other members proposed that Sen. Young be given another week to see if the bill could be altered in a fashion which would better address objections heard in the hearing. Committee Chair Washburne decided to hold the bill for another week, to give Sen. Young an opportunity to present a revised bill with limited testimony only.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1405 pertaining to state examiner, attorney general, and prosecuting attorneys sponsored by Sen. Niemeyer. Author Rep. Slager explained that the bill authorizes concurrent criminal jurisdiction by the Attorney General and prosecuting attorney to prosecute certain violations committed by local public officers under the purview of the State Board of Accounts. The bill also expands the Attorney General’s authority to bring a civil action to remove a public official from office when a second, unrelated violation of IC 5-11-1-10 or IC 5-11-1-21 is committed and to combine this action with an action brought under IC 5-11-5-1. An amendment was adopted by consent removing the concurrent criminal jurisdiction provisions. The State Examiner testified in support of the bill. The Association of Indiana Counties testified in opposition to the bill. The amended bill failed to pass 5-3.

Judicial Administration

March 13, 2015 | Category: Administration

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1110 on magistrates sponsored by Sen. Steele and Sen. Grooms. Author Rep. Stemler introduced the bill stating the bill began as a request for a magistrate in Clark County but has been expanded to include all requests for magistrate positions this session. Magistrate positions included in this bill are in Clark, Greene, Madison, Marion, Porter and Vanderburgh counties. Each of these proposals was approved by the Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary. Sen. Zakas introduced an amendment, adopted by consent, adding two magistrate positions in St. Joseph County to the bill. Judges Oakes and Welch testified in support of the bill’s provision converting four commissioners to magistrates in Marion County after December 31, 2015. Also testifying in support of the bill were Judge Martin from Greene County and Judge Clem from Madison County. The amended bill passed 9-0 and will be recommitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1131 on exemption of military reservists from jury duty sponsored by Sen. Raatz. The bill provides an exemption from jury service to reservists while on military orders. Representatives from the Veterans Coalition of Indiana and the Disabled Veterans Association testified in support of the bill. The bill passed 9-0.

Judicial Administration

March 5, 2015 | Category: Administration

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1141, sponsored by Sen. Steele, on judgment dockets. This bill specifies that the clerk of a circuit court shall keep a judgment docket for the circuit court and for each superior court and probate court served by the clerk, and that the clerk is the official keeper of the judgment docket for the circuit court and for each superior court and probate court served by the clerk. It also provides that a judgment docket may not include judgments in which the state, a county, or another governmental entity is the sole creditor, except for cases in which the state obtains a judgment for unpaid taxes, or any entry that is required by statute. This bill is meant to clarify that criminal court costs are not included on the judgment docket. The bill passed 6-0.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1307, sponsored by Sen. Niemeyer and Sen. Randolph, increasing the maximum civil jurisdiction from an amount in controversy of $3,000 to an amount in controversy of $6,000 for Lake County city and town court jurisdiction in East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Hobart, and Crown Point city courts, and Merrillville town court. The bill was amended to specify that money from the jury pay fund may be used by a city or town court to supplement the cost of jury fees. The amended bill passed 7-0.

Judicial Administration

February 27, 2015 | Category: Administration

Bill No. Bill Title Committee 2nd Reading 3rd Reading Sponsor(s)
SB 12 Judicial retirement age 1/7/15 Do Pass 1/13/15 Engrossed 1/29/15 Passed 27-20 Steuerwald
SB 58 Pulaski superior court and Sullivan magistrate 2/19/15 Do Pass –A 2/23/15 Engrossed 2/24/15 Passed 42-8 Steuerwald
SB 71 St. Joseph circuit court magistrate 2/12/15 Do Pass –A; 2/19/15 Do Pass –A 2/23/15 Engrossed 2/24/15 Passed 50-0 DeVon
SB 90 Address confidentiality 1/27/15 Do Pass –A; 2/5/15 Do Pass –A 2/12/15 Engrossed 2/19/15 Passed 48-0 Richardson
SB 99 Jury service review 1/22/15 Do Pass –A; 2/19/15 Do Pass –A 2/23/15 Engrossed –A 2/24/15 Passed 45-5 Steuerwald
SB 137 Magistrates and criminal trials 1/22/15 Do Pass –A 1/26/15 Engrossed 1/27/15 Passed 28-22 Fine, Slager
SB 217 Service of process fees collected by a sheriff 1/15/15 Do Pass –A 1/20/15 Engrossed 1/22/15 Passed 41-8 Gutwein, McNamara
SB 409 Court fees 2/5/15 Do Pass 2/9/15 Engrossed 2/10/15 Passed 47-3 Huston
SB 422 Court security fees and funds 1/29/15 Do Pass –A 2/2/15 Engrossed –A;

2/12/15 Engrossed –A

2/17 Passed 33-17 McNamara, Davisson
SB 507 Attorney and judicial discipline complaints 2/12/15 Do Pass –A; 2/19/15 Do Pass –A 2/23/15 Engrossed 2/24/15 Passed 48-0 Cox, Mayfield
SB 523 Marion County small claims 2/12/15 Do Pass –A 2/23/15 Engrossed –A 2/24/15 Passed 35-14 Frizzell, Behning
HB 1110 Magistrates 1/22/15 Do Pass; 2/17/15 Do Pass –A 2/23/15 Engrossed –A 2/24/15 Passed 92-0 Steele, Grooms
HB 1131 Exemption of military reservists from jury duty 2/10/15 Do Pass 2/12/15 Engrossed 2/16/15 Passed 96-0 Raatz
HB 1373 Circuit court clerks 2/5/15 Do Pass 2/9/15 Engrossed –A 2/10/15 Passed 98-0 Young, M.
HB 1425 Court fees 2/5/15 Do Pass; 2/17/15 Do Pass –A 2/19/15 Engrossed 2/23/15 Passed 79-17 Waltz, Kenley

Judicial Administration

February 20, 2015 | Category: Administration

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SJR 15 concerning selection of justices and appellate court judges authored and presented by Sen. M. Young. The resolution provides that one commission member is selected by attorneys licensed in Indiana, one commission member is appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and one commission member is appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The bill requires that at least one commission member appointed by the Governor must be an attorney and prohibits a person who is a lobbyist from serving on the commission. It also provides for the Governor to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals from nominees recommended by the commission, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The legislation provides that a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge of the Court of Appeals serves until July 1 of the tenth year after the justice’s or judge’s appointment is confirmed by the Senate or the justice’s or judge’s retention in office is confirmed by the House of Representatives. It provides that if a justice or judge wants to serve a new term, the justice or judge must apply to the House of Representatives for retention. The bill specifies that a judge or justice will be retained, unless: (1) the judge or justice does not apply to the House of Representatives for retention; or (2) at least 60% of the members of the House of Representatives vote against retention. It also amends the provisions concerning impeachment proceedings for a justice or judge and provides a transition for justices and judges serving at the time of the adoption of these amendments to the constitution. The resolution was amended to provide that out of state felony convictions would result in a loss of office. Testimony was presented in opposition to the resolution from Judge Robert Freese, representing the Indiana Judges Association; current and former Judicial Nominating Commission members; John Trimble, President of the Indianapolis Bar Association and representing the Indiana State Bar Association Improvement of the Judiciary Committee; Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana; and the Indiana Public Defender Council. The amended resolution was defeated 4-6.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 58 concerning Pulaski superior court and Sullivan magistrate authored and presented by Sen. Steele.  The bill would eliminate the power to appoint a magistrate in Sullivan County effective July 1, 2015, and would eliminate the Pulaski Superior Court on December 31, 2018.  After describing the process for requesting new judicial resources and the role of the weighted caseload system, Sen. Steele indicated the weighted caseload information shows these counties with underutilized judicial resources and weighted caseload information should also be used to eliminate unneeded resources and would allow the fiscal resources to be redirected to those counties with greater need. Supporting testimony was received from the Republican County Chairman for Sullivan Co. Opposing testimony was received from Judge Robert Hunley, Sullivan Circuit Court, Judge Hugh Hunt, Sullivan Superior Court, Judge Patrick Blankenship, Pulaski Superior Court, a Pulaski County Prosecutor, and the Pulaski County Bar Association President. Those testifying in opposition encouraged the Committee to take more time to study the issues, and allow the courts to work within their judicial district to help alleviate need in other courts that are in need of judicial resources.  After committee discussion, the bill as introduced was voted on, but did not pass for a lack of a majority vote.  The Committee then took a verbal amendment, by consent, to maintain the language for Sullivan County and send the issue involving Pulaski County to a study committee. The amended bill passed 10-0.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also heard SB 71 concerning St. Joseph County magistrates authored and presented by Sen. Zakas. He reported that this bill would not be heard in Appropriations, but the other provisions in the bill were still necessary.  The amendments adopted by consent would provide that the probate court cannot consider political affiliation in appointing magistrates and provides that the chair for the local nominating commission is the chief judge of the superior court in place of the Chief Justice’s appointment of the commission chair. The bill passed as amended 7-1.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 99 concerning jury service review authored and presented by Sen. Zakas. An amendment to the bill was adopted to provide that if a nursing mother is denied a deferral then she can request a review by the trial judge and provide additional information for consideration of the request. After receiving supporting testimony and committee discussion, the bill passed 9-0.

The Senate Appropriations Committee heard Sen. Bray’s SB 507 on attorney and judicial discipline complaints. Despite the title, this bill does not mention judicial discipline complaints. This bill permits a prosecuting attorney and a county public defender to seek reimbursement from the state for reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in defending against a charge of attorney misconduct if the alleged misconduct relates to the person’s official duties or status as a prosecuting attorney or public defender, the charge of misconduct does not result in a sanction (except for a private reprimand), and the attorney general approves the reimbursement. The bill was amended to define public defender as someone who is salaried as a public defender. The amended bill passed 11-0.

The House Ways and Means Committee heard HB 1110, authored by Rep. Stemler and Rep. Steuerwald, originally allowing appointment of a third Clark circuit court magistrate. The bill was amended to allow the judge of the Vanderburgh circuit court to appoint a second full-time magistrate and to allow the judge of the Greene circuit court and the judge of the Greene superior court to jointly appoint one full-time magistrate. It also allows a magistrate to approve and accept criminal plea agreements, approve agreed settlements concerning civil matters, and approve decrees of dissolution, settlement agreements, and any other agreements of the parties in domestic relations actions or paternity actions. It also allows the judges of the Marion superior court to appoint four additional full-time magistrates after December 31, 2015. The amended bill passed 15-0.

The House Ways and Means Committee heard Rep. Steuerwald’s HB 1425 on court fees (automated record keeping fee and document storage fee).  The Committee amended the bill by consent to reinstate the homeowner protection unit account for deposit of automated record keeping fees from Marion County Small Claims Courts.  The bill passed as amended, 14-

Judicial Administration

February 13, 2015 | Category: Administration

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Sen. Bray’s SB 507 on attorney and judicial discipline complaints. This bill permits a prosecuting attorney and a public defender to seek reimbursement from the State Tort Claim Fund for reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in defending against a claim of attorney misconduct if the alleged misconduct relates to the person’s official duties or status as a prosecuting attorney or public defender, the claim of misconduct does not result in a sanction, and the Attorney General approves the reimbursement. The bill was amended to change that reimbursement comes out of the State General Fund. Representatives from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and the Indiana Public Defenders Council testified in favor of the bill. The Committee further amended the bill to remove “private reprimand.” The amended bill passed 9-0.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Sen. R. Michael Young’s SB 523 on the Marion County Small Claims courts. This bill replaces the existing Marion county township small claims court system with a county-wide small claims court system having nine divisions and only three townships can hear debt collection cases. It also provides that the judges of the small claims court shall be elected in a county-wide election, and that a division of the Marion county small claims court shall be located in each township. The bill passed 9-0.

The House Judiciary Committee heard HB 1131 concerning exemption of military reservists from jury duty authored by Rep. Hamm and Rep. Saunders. Rep. Hamm presented the bill that provides an exemption from jury service for individuals on reserve duty while on military orders.  Representatives of the Veterans Coalition of Indiana, the Disabled Veterans Association, gave supporting testimony, and a reservist testified that the bill was necessary to correct an oversight in the law. The bill passed 8-0.

Judicial Administration

February 6, 2015 | Category: Administration

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 90 concerning address confidentiality authored and presented by Sen. Steele.  The bill was amended by the Committee and includes judicial officers within the definition of a law enforcement official for purposes of these provisions to allow law enforcement officials the ability to require public agencies, via an application, to keep the official’s home address confidential, provides limited exceptions to permit address disclosure, permits the official to substitute a P.O. Box on documents issued by the public agency, provides for the expiration of such applications.  After taking supporting testimony on the amended bill from Indiana State Police and Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the bill passed as amended 8-0.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 150 authored by Sen. Lanane creating an additional Madison circuit court magistrate. Madison Circuit Court Judges Clem and Happe testified to the need for an additional judicial officer to handle the circuit court’s workload. Sen. Tallian offered an amendment adding a magistrate position to the Porter Circuit Court. The amendment was adopted by consent. Both magistrate positions were approved by the Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary. The amended bill passed 8-0.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 292 concerning St. Joseph County courts authored and presented by Sen. Zakas.  The bill adds additional magistrates for the circuit court and superior court.  The Committee adopted an amendment by consent to section 1 of the bill to provide that political affiliation could not be considered in appointing the magistrates.  Judge Jenny Pitts Manier, St. Joseph Superior Court, testified in support of the bill, which the Committee passed as amended 8-0.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also heard SB 409 concerning court fees authored and presented by Sen. Merritt. The bill reinstates the mortgage foreclosure counseling and education court fee of $50 until July 1, 2017.  Elizabeth Dalton, Division of State Court Administration, testified in support and explained to the Committee how a portion of these fees provide court facilitators.  After receiving other supporting testimony, the Committee passed the bill 8-0.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 547 on veterans and courts. Author Sen. Zakas testified that the bill makes appropriations to the Indiana Judicial Center to assist in the development of veterans’ courts statewide. The bill also authorizes (1) veterans’ courts to accept individuals from another county, (2) mandates the establishment of a veterans’ court in each judicial district, (3) requires the Judicial Conference of Indiana Board of Directors to adopt rules governing the transfer of veterans among jurisdictions for the purposes of participation in a veterans’ court, (4) requires designated state agencies to seek funding for veterans’ courts, and (5) authorizes courts to consider as a mitigating factor that an individual convicted of a crime is a veteran who has certain conditions that favor suspending the sentence. Jane Seigel, Executive Director, and Mary Kay Hudson, Director of Court Services, of the Indiana Judicial Center provided the Committee with the current status of veterans’ courts in Indiana. Madison Circuit Court Judge Clem, the Indiana Bar Association, the Military and Veterans Coalition of Indiana and the Disabled American Veterans testified in support of the bill. The bill passed 8-0.

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard Rep. Richardson’s HB 1373 on circuit court clerks. This bill requires a fee for filing a petition with a court for the expungement of a person’s record of arrest or conviction. It also requires a person who requests a circuit court clerk to send an additional mailing by registered or certified mail to provide an addressed envelope with postage prepaid, the United States Postal Service forms for registered or certified mail, and the United States Postal Service fee for service by registered or certified mail. The bill provides that any fees collected by the circuit court clerk for preparing a transcript or copy of a record are deposited in the clerk’s records perpetuation fund (instead of the county general fund). Clerks representing the Clerks’ Association testified in support of the bill. The bill passed 12-0.

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1425, authored by Rep. McMillin and Rep. Steuerwald, on court fees. The automated record keeping fee is currently $7, but will  decrease to $5 on July 1, 2015. This bill increases the automated record keeping fee collected after June 30, 2015 to $9. This bill also provides that 100% of the automated record keeping fee is distributed to the Auditor of State for deposit in the state user fee fund. This bill also increases the document storage fee from $2 to $4. Justice David and Judge Mathias testified about the importance of funding court technology, and that $9 is a necessary fee. Henry County Judge Mary Willis testified about the importance of Odyssey. County Clerks Association testified against the bill because of the how the fee is divided between counties. The owner of Doxpop, a private sector vendor, echoed the County Clerks Association’s viewpoint. CSI, another private sector vendor, testified about working with the State to connect data and that it is important that this bill move forward. Although the need for amendment was discussed, no amendments were heard. The bill passed 10-1 and was recommitted to Ways and Means.

Judicial Administration

January 30, 2015 | Category: Administration

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Sen. Grooms’ SB 422 on court security fees and funds. This bill requires the clerk of a circuit court and the clerk of a city or town court to collect a court security fee of $2 in each action in which a person is required to pay a criminal costs fee or a civil costs fee. The bill also requires the clerks to distribute the court security fees collected to the Auditor of State. The court security fees will be divided equally to each county and deposited in each county’s court security fund. The court security fund in each county may pay for the costs of installing, operating, maintaining, and upgrading security measures, plans, procedures, and systems in and around courtrooms and buildings that contain courtrooms located in the county. The author estimated that the worst-case scenario is that each county would receive $8,000. The bill was amended setting a 4-year sunset provision and to require the court security fee to go directly to a court security fund run by the Indiana Judicial Center to administer and distribute as grants. Jane Seigel, Executive Director of the Indiana Judicial Center, testified that the Center would be happy to administer the fund, and that the Supreme Court has placed an emphasis on court security. Judge Mary Willis, Henry Circuit Court 1, testified on behalf of the Indiana Judges Association in favor of the bill. A representative for the Association of Indiana Counties and the Clerks’ Association also testified in support of the bill. The amended bill passed 7-2.