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Friday, March 16, 2012

Ind. Courts - "Delaware Judges order council to accept budget The mandate would restore pay and give judges control of the budget"

As has happened in the past with several other counties, including St. Joseph and Clerk, a number of Delaware County judges are mandating the county council to provide requested court funding. Some quotes from a story today by Keith Roysdon in the Muncie Star-Press:

The dispute between Delaware County Council and local judges over control of the court system budget has moved into the legal arena: The judges have issued an order of mandate to the fiscal body.

The mandate, signed by four of five Delaware Circuit Court judges and issued Thursday, orders county council to "reimburse and restore all pay to court staff," including back pay.

The judges also order that council accept a court system budget submitted by the judges.

The budget -- and the judges' interest in controlling their own $1.8 million courts budget -- is at the heart of the dispute. All five local Circuit Court judges have been to recent council meetings and asked for that control. * * *

The judges ordered council to "provide funding as outlined in the 2012 budget proposed by the judges in June 2011."

"Such funding will be fully and completely appropriated by the council as presented by the judges immediately," the mandate reads. * * *

King said Thursday afternoon that he didn't understand the reason for the mandate.

"I thought all the judges wanted was their girls' salaries to be brought back up," [Council president James] King said. "We showed in good faith that was what we were going to do. I don't understand what the courts want." * * *

Besides Wolf, Thursday's order of mandate was signed by Circuit Court 2 Judge Alan Wilson, Circuit Court 4 Judge John Feick and Circuit Court 5 Judge Thomas Cannon Jr. Delaware Circuit Court 1 Judge Marianne Vorhees did not sign the order.

In their mandate, the judges write that they realize the mandate was "an extraordinary action to stand for judicial independence."

The judges have hired Indianapolis attorneys Phil Isenbarger and Karl Mulvaney to represent them and the judges, in their mandate, warn that council "will be required to pay legal expenses" associated with the mandate.

It's possible that council will hire attorneys separate from Amanda Dunnuck, who practices before local judges. [ILB emphasis]

Here is a long list of earlier ILB entries re "judicial mandate".

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 16, 2012 11:25 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts