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Friday, April 29, 2016

Ind. Courts - "New Monroe circuit court judge will likely have to start out small"

A few quotes from Laura Lane's report today in the $$ Bloomington Herald-Times:

The person elected to replace retiring Monroe Circuit Court Judge E. Michael Hoff will inherit his office and courtroom, but likely not his caseload.

Small claims court may well be his or her destination.

That’s because the county’s judges together decide how the thousands of civil disputes, divorces, probate cases, small claims and infractions are divvied up among the judges of the Monroe Circuit Court’s nine divisions. Historically, newly elected Monroe Circuit Court judges start out where the least-tenured judges — Elizabeth Cure and Valeri Haughton — find themselves, focusing on small claims, infractions, ordinance violations and divorces.

It’s where judges gain experience and cut their teeth on difficult real-world situations and decision making.

There currently are four criminal courts, one juvenile court and four others that handle civil cases ranging from marriage dissolutions to landlord-tenant disputes. Before 1990, when there were six courts, caseloads were diverse and each court handled one-sixth of every kind of case filed.

Hoff’s Division I caseload is a mix of plenary civil cases, divorces and probate matters. But there’s a good chance that whoever gets elected will have a significantly different file cabinet full of cases.

The county’s nine judges meet every fall to assess and discuss caseloads and court jurisdictions. Monroe Circuit Judge Kenneth Todd’s court oversees criminal cases and has for years. He said the judges consider individual preferences and each person's experience in different areas of the law when deciding who does what.

Of the candidates for Hoff’s seat, one is steeped in criminal law and the other three have more experience on the civil-law side.

The story continues, with details from interviews of the four Democratic candidates. No Republicans have filed.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 29, 2016 10:26 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts