« Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 today (and 7 NFP) | Main | Ind. Gov't. - More on "Payne resigns as DCS director" »

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ind. Courts - New rule causes concern among many senior judges

The ILB has learned that several trial court judges and senior judges are concerned over a proposed change to Admin Rule 5(B)(4).

As part of the Senior Judge’s verification, s/he will as of Jan. 1, 2013 have to provide a verified written statement that “neither the senior judge, nor any firm with which the senior judge is associated practices law in the court.”

Some trial judges are upset because they read that portion as potentially leading to many senior judges giving up on senior judging to avoid impacting their firms’ ability to practice law.

Admin Rule 5(B) concerns payment and notification procedures for Senior Judges.

Subdivision (B)(3) covers "Qualification for Senior Judge Status." It reads in part:

(3) Qualification for Senior Judge Status. A person who is certified by the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission may serve as senior judge. Each year the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission [JNC] shall certify to the Supreme Court that a person who is certified: * * *
(f) agrees
(i) in the case of a senior judge appointed or assigned to serve a trial court, not to represent any client in any case before a court in which the senior judge is appointed or assigned as senior judge [etc.] * * *

(ii) in the case of a senior judge appointed or assigned to serve an appellate court, (1) not to represent any client in any case before an Indiana appellate court [etc.] * * *

Subdivision (B)(4) currently deals with the jurisdiction of senior judges. It reads:

(4) Jurisdiction. A senior judge shall have the same jurisdiction as the presiding judge of the court where the judge is appointed but only during the days that the senior judge is serving in such court. A senior judge who has been appointed to serve in a court shall have jurisdiction at any time during such appointment to officiate at marriages and administer oaths the same as the judge of the court of service. A senior judge retains jurisdiction in an individual case on the order of the presiding judge of the court in which the case is pending;

One of the revisions to Admin Rule 5(B) recently approved (Sept. 7, 2012) by the Supreme Court and effective Jan. 1, 2013, adds a new requirement on top of the list of requirements in Admin Rule 5(B)(3) for a senior judge to be certified by the JNC. But this requirement is to be imposed on the senior judge by the presiding judge wishing to use the senior judge.

The new language, awkwardly inserted at the beginning of Subdivision (B)(4), Jurisdiction, requires:

The senior judge shall provide to the presiding judge, and the presiding judge shall attach to the order, a verified written statement from the senior judge that neither the senior judge, nor any firm with which the senior judge is associated practices law in the court. The order shall be filed in the Record of Judgments and Orders of the court and a copy sent to the Division of State Court Administration.
As one reader writes:
I mean, I get not practicing in the court on the day that my law partner is senior judging, but how does that stretch out to never practicing in that court ever?

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 25, 2012 04:22 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts