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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ind. Courts - "Clark Circuit court judge suing council to fund two new positions in probation"

Matt Koesters reports today in the Jeffersonville News & Tribune:

In September, the Clark County Council denied a request from Circuit Court Presiding Judge Vicki Carmichael to fund the creation of two new positions in the county’s probation department. The council voted 6-0 Monday to contest a lawsuit filed by Carmichael against the council in Indiana Supreme Court requesting a mandate of funds to pay for the new positions.

“I believe that, unlike some other mandates, I believe we have a chance of contesting this one,” said County Council Attorney Scott Lewis.

Before it appoints a special judge to the case, the Indiana Supreme Court has ordered mandatory mediation between the involved parties, to be completed no later than Feb. 15, 2014.

Carmichael initially requested that the county council approve salaries for two probation officer positions totaling $41,337 and $29,912, respectively. One of those officers would work with adults, while the other would work with juvenile offenders, Carmichael told the council. The council tabled the request in August before unanimously denying it at a September meeting.

Carmichael was not present at Monday’s meeting, and did not respond to a message left on her voice mail requesting comment.

In the Order for Mandate of Funds filed with the Indiana Supreme Court on Nov. 8, Carmichael argues that she supplied the county council with ample evidence to demonstrate that the creation of the two positions is necessary. * * *

Lewis said he believes the council has a shot at defeating Carmichael’s mandate lawsuit because of statements made by Circuit Court No. 1 Judge Dan Moore at previous county council meetings regarding Clark County Community Corrections being underutilized by the courts.

“This particular judge has provided us with information that there isn’t a need for two additional probation officers because for whatever reason, certain courts have reduced the amount of referrals to community corrections when there’s capacity there to absorb that rather than going to probation,” Lewis said. “So the point is, when you have another fellow judge of the unified probation department saying this is not necessary, we believe those are grounds, then, to show that we have a current judge who is part of this probation department who has said there is capacity in community corrections where there’s not a need to add two new probation officers.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 10, 2013 09:26 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts