Courts and judicial officers

The Senate Appropriations Committee heard SB 256 on courts and judicial officers authored by Sen. Koch. This bill:

  • Provides that the interim Committee on Courts and the Judiciary (committee) 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. It also requires the Office of Judicial Administration to post the required information on its Internet web site.
  • 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. Provides that each of these superior courts converts to Clark circuit courts No. 5 and No. 6 beginning January 1, 2025.
  • Establishes a sixth circuit court in Delaware County. Removes the requirement that Delaware circuit courts 4 and 5 each have a standard small claims and misdemeanor docket. 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.
  • Requires the Office of Judicial Administration to collect data concerning rates of rearrest of defendants released with and without money bail and submit an annual report containing the information collected to the legislative council.
  • Urges the legislative council to assign to the committee the topic of giving mutual full faith and credit to judgments and orders of a tribal court of a federally recognized Indian tribe

The bill was amended to allow requests for new judicial officers only on budget years, requiring the county fiscal body to agree that they are willing to absorb the operating expense of a new court, and creating a process for the Interim Study Committee on Courts & the Judiciary to determine if the number of courts or magistrates in a county should be reduced. The amendment also makes the effective date of any new judicial officers July 1, 2021 to coincide with the budget cycle. The amended bill passed 12-0.

Read the bill at: