Thursday, October 2, 2014

Judicial District Plans

May 6, 2013 by Hon. Marianne Vorhees

The District Plans are in! All twenty-six administrative districts submitted their plans to the Indiana Judicial Center and State Court Administration, and the Judicial Conference Board accepted the plans during the March board meeting.

In Administrative Rule 3, the Supreme Court divided the State into twenty-six administrative districts and directed the Indiana Judicial Conference Board of Directors to establish, by rule, a structure for the districts’ governance, management, and administration. Administrative Rule 3 implements IC 33-24-6-10, which calls for the state to be divided into at least eight trial court districts.

The Rule adopted by the Judicial Conference asked each district to meet and make several decisions, including:

  • Who will provide leadership for the district?
  • Who will serve as the District’s representative to the Judicial Conference Board?
  • Does the District have any special concerns to address through a District Rule?
  • Does the District have any programs in which the various counties can collaborate?

The twenty-six districts answered these questions by fashioning plans specific to each district’s unique needs and vision. The plans reflect the variety of ways to manage Indiana’s court system. Here are some highlights from the District Plans.

District Leadership

Each district met and formed its own governance structure. In sixteen districts, an Administrative Judge will take on the leadership role in the district. In ten districts, a committee will share the leadership function.

Board Representation

In twelve districts, the Administrative Judge will serve as the District’s representative to the Judicial Conference Board. In three districts, a member from the district’s management committee will serve on the Board. Eleven districts will select a board representative separately from the Administrative Judge and management committee.

New District Rules

District 11 (Fountain, Montgomery, Parke, Vermillion, and Warren) adopted a district rule to provide for senior judge jurisdiction in emergency matters.

District 19 (Clay, Sullivan, and Vigo) adopted a district rule for special judge assignments in civil cases.

Districts 4 (St. Joseph) and 17 (Hancock, Johnson, and Shelby) adopted a very specific governance plan.

Collaboration within the Districts

Within Districts 8, 19, and 25, the counties will cooperate in providing pro bono programs. Within Districts 2, 3, and 6, the counties will share GAL/CASA resources. Districts 11 and 23 will form joint problem-solving courts or share problem-solving court resources.

District 8 will share juvenile detention resources, and District 24 will provide regional community corrections services. District 26 will provide joint continuing legal education programs.

Within the single county districts (Lake, Allen, St. Joseph, and Marion Counties), the courts agreed to cooperate in many programs, including probation, sharing courtrooms, centralized jury administration, joint grant applications, problem-solving courts, and community corrections.

Conclusion

Each Administrative District will meet during 2013. The judges are encouraged to discuss their district’s unique make-up and any special needs the district may have. Each district may adopt rules and agree to collaborate in programs that will maximize judicial resources throughout the district.

For further information on the district plans please contact Michelle C. Goodman, Staff Attorney, Indiana Judicial Center, by phone at 317-232-1313, or by email at michelle.goodman@courts.in.gov.