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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Ind. Courts - "Longtime officeholders running for Floyd Circuit Court judge"

Supplementing this ILB post from this morning, Elizabeth DePompei reports today in the Floyd Co. News & Tribune in a long story - some quotes:

FLOYD COUNTY — Voters will decide between two longtime public servants for Floyd County Circuit Court judge next week.

Circuit Court Judge Terrence Cody, a Democrat, has served the court for 18 years, a record of experience he says makes him the best candidate for the job. Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson has 14 years of experience in the courtroom, and he says it's time for someone new on the bench.

Cody said Circuit Court handles 25 percent of the county's felony cases, plus civil cases and Children in Need of Services cases, or CHINS. He wants to continue serving the court, saying it would bring continuity to the kind of cases he's presided over for so long. * * *

Making the court more efficient is one of Henderson's top goals if elected. He doesn't think there's an "inordinate" amount of CHINS cases overloading the court, but thinks inefficiency is creating more work. He's particularly interested in reforming the juvenile court system.

"I think we need more accountability from the juvenile criminal offenders and we need to have accountability by their parents," Henderson said. "I think too many times we’ve allowed them, especially our more serious juvenile offenders who have committed crimes in our community, not be held accountable and certainly I think we’ve, that the court has done a poor job in holding the parents accountable."

Henderson said felony crime has been reduced by 40 percent during his time in the prosecutor's office, and he hopes to bring the same kind of change to Circuit Court. He would also like to see a "marshaling" of community resources for parents and juveniles, which could include life skills education and vocational training for youth.

Henderson has two years left in his current term as prosecutor and said it would be bittersweet to leave the office, which he was first elected to in 2002. He wont' say who he might recommend to fill his shoes if it comes to that, but he hopes he's helped set up a strong framework to keep the office running as well or better than he says it has been. Henderson also noted his part in creating the Floyd County Combined Accident Reconstruction Team and helping set up the Child Advocacy Center in New Albany.

As for the ongoing Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission case involving Henderson, he said he's confident the case is finished. * * *

A hearing officer recommended a public reprimand of Henderson in August. The Indiana Supreme Court will review the hearing officer's findings and issue a final decision. Henderson said he disagrees with the officer's findings and doesn't want disciplinary action to set a bad precedent for prosecutors.

"I believe that a prosecutor should be able to tell a story, whether it’s in a book or to CBS '48 Hours' or to '20/20' or to you, once the case is on appeal. Because Indiana law says that the Indiana attorney general has exclusive jurisdiction on appeals, not the prosecutor," Henderson said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 2, 2016 01:51 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts