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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ind. Courts - "Jeffersonville City Court in jeopardy of closing", City Judge blames State Police

Alex Schuman of WHAS11ABC reports:

JEFFERSONVILLE, In - Clark County may soon be taking on more cases.

The Jeffersonville City Council voted to shut down their city court Monday. Their decision still requires a second vote, but will mean Jeffersonville can no longer help the county with the case load.

Their city court handles any misdemeanor, or violation that does not result in jail time that occurs in Jeffersonville's border.

"I'm a part-time judge. I have a private law practice. I have the ability to earn an income," Judge Ken Pierce, the only judge for Jeffersonville's city court said. Pierce hears cases three mornings a week, and came to the meeting to defend the need for a city court in Jeffersonville.

Pierce argues the loss of a judge who can issue warrants to local police, the money the court generates for drug prevention and the local library, and the back-log of cases at Clark County are prime examples of how having the court benefits the city. * * *

Councilman Matt Owen pushed a vote on the ordinance to discontinue the court because of its shrinking case load and increasing cost.

Current estimations show the city court could cost Jeffersonville more than 400,000 dollars in 2014.

The one, strange piece of this story, is that no one can officially explain why Jeffersonville's case load has experienced such a dramatic drop from 2012 to 2014.

"The other thing that I've been trying to put my hands on, and I can't - for some reason - is why this case load is going down," Julius said. "Your case load. Everybody else's case numbers are going up. Everybody. Your case load is going down."

Judge Pierce believes certain Indiana State Police officers are stationing themselves in Jeffersonville, and purposely failing to file their cases with his court. * * *

Judge Pierce also challenges the numbers the city council is basing their decision, and thinks he could get the number down from more than 400,000 to around 200,000.

"We have to rely on these numbers. We have to - if there's a mistake - you bring it to us - we will definitely research it," Julius to Pierce during the meeting said.

Pierce's term lasts for another year.

"I'm arguing for the better of the city."

The city council must vote to shut down the city court a second time for the decision to be official.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 18, 2014 10:04 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts