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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ind. Courts - A day, and ultimately, a year, in the life of one Indiana juvenile court

On Dec. 10, 2011 Dave Bangert of the Lafayette Journal Courier had a very long column on a day in the life of a juvenile court. The ILB linked to it at the time, and I'm happy to report that the entire JC story is still available online. It began:

So where do you start in telling about a Wednesday in late November in Tippecanoe Superior Court 3, one that more than a few regulars in the court where juvenile and family matters are heard chalk up as a typical day?
Today Mr. Bangert has an equally lengthy follow-up story, headed "A day in juvenile court: Revisited | Turmoil, kids on the brink and real redemption play out in the course of a year." Today's column begins:
A full day spent in Tippecanoe Superior Court 3, the county’s juvenile court, is enough to ask: Where do you start to tell about the tragic, the sad, the horrific and the dumbfounding stories that unfold, one after another, in that courtroom?

Tracing those cases nearly a year later is enough to ask: Does it ever end?

“These cases are long,” said Judge Loretta Rush, Tippecanoe County’s juvenile judge until Nov. 7, when she was sworn in as an Indiana Supreme Court justice. “You do everything you can to keep them moving. To find answers for these families. To protect those kids. Always to protect those kids.”

Starting with one day’s caseload — in this instance, the ones heard Nov. 30, 2011 — it’s easy to see how bad decisions grow strings that don’t just get longer, but tend to get knotted, tangled and more complicated for everyone involved.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of these cases,” Rush said in her final week in the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. “Once you know this is going on, you can’t ignore it. I can’t.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 18, 2012 11:45 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts