Courts and judicial officers

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 256 on courts and judicial officers.  The bill is authored by Sen. Koch and provides the following:

  • The Interim Committee on Courts and the Judiciary shall review, consider, and make recommendations concerning requests for new courts, new judicial officers, and changes in jurisdiction of existing courts and specifies the information that must be provided to the committee with such a request.
  • Requires the Office of Judicial Administration to post the required information on its internet web site.
  • Establishes a fifth and sixth circuit court in Clark County.
  • Establishes a sixth circuit court in Delaware County.
  • Establishes a third superior court in Marshall County.
  • Allows the judge of the Gibson superior court to appoint a magistrate to serve the Gibson superior court.
  • Allows the judges of the Hamilton circuit and superior courts to jointly appoint an additional magistrate to serve the Hamilton County courts.
  • Allows the judges of the Jennings circuit and superior courts to jointly appoint a magistrate to serve the Jennings County courts.
  • Urges the legislative council to assign to the Interim Committee on Courts and the Judiciary the topic of giving mutual full faith and credit to judgments and orders of a tribal court of a federally recognized Indian tribe.

There were four amendments to the bill, which were adopted by consent. Amendment #1 removes the requirement that Delaware Circuit Courts 4 and 5 each have a standard small claims and misdemeanor docket.  Amendment #3 requires the Office of Judicial Administration to: (1) collect data concerning rates of rearrest of defendants released with and without money bail; and (2) submit an annual report containing the information collected to the legislative council.  Amendment #4 establishes the Clark Circuit Courts No. 5 and No. 6, beginning January 1, 2025, provides for the election of the judges of each of these circuit courts at the November 2024 general election, establishes the Clark Superior Courts No. 5 and No. 6, requires the governor to appoint the judge of each of these superior courts, and provides that each of these superior courts converts to Clark Circuit Courts No. 5 and No. 6 beginning January 1, 2025.  Amendment #5 removes certain informational requirements.

The committee heard testimony in support of the bill from the Marshall County Bar Association, Judge Dean Colvin of Marshall Circuit Court, Judge Kim Dowling of Delaware Circuit Court, and Judge Vicki Carmichael of Clark Circuit Court.  The amended bill passed 8-1.

Read the bill at:  http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/bills/senate/256