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Friday, May 10, 2013

Ind. Courts - More on "Some Brown County Residents Protest Courthouse Remodel Bonds" [Updated]

Referencing this ILB post earlier today, a reader writes:

I just wanted to provide the following comments to your post about the Brown County courthouse. I’ve had a couple of cases there.

The courthouse is very small and not well-organized for the traffic and volume of cases they have. For example, in order to get to the court staff offices, you have to walk through the courtroom, which is disruptive if court is in session, but not being able to get to the staff can prevent you from letting them know you’re there or getting other things done.

Also, Circuit Court has both Judge Stewart and a magistrate, but I believe only the single courtroom, so it is difficult for them to schedule concurrent proceedings.

I was recently in Owen County and they have a similar structure: Circuit Court Judge Quillen and a magistrate. While Judge Quillen was in a jury trial, the magistrate heard my matter in what they call the “small claims courtroom,” which was a small room with a bench and recording equipment, and just simple banquet-type tables set up for the litigants. I’m not sure that Brown County even has that flexibility.

[Updated at 4:40 PM] Another reader has sent the following:
I’ve had both civil and criminal cases in the Brown County Courthouse while I was in private practice. Although it’s admittedly not very well set up, there’s enough of a pathway through the gallery that you don’t really have to step in front of the bar to get to the clerk’s offices.

As for the issue of concurrent proceedings, there actually is a magistrate “courtroom”, if you can call it that. There’s a bench with a seat for the reporter, two counsel tables and maybe two rows of 8 chairs each. It’s small, but that was always where they held criminal pretrial conferences, and the “gallery” waited for their hearing to be called in the hallway. Expansion would be welcome, no doubt, but it’s at the very least functional as is.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 10, 2013 02:08 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts