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Monday, January 16, 2017

Ind. Courts - "Hamilton County court expansion could shrink"

John Tuohy reports in the Indianapolis Star today:

Hamilton County commissioners will soon see early designs for a $22 million expansion of the government center, but one official said he will recommend less courtroom space than originally planned.

“Initially it looked like we needed four courtrooms, but now it seems one or two is more realistic,” said court administrator Orval Schierholz. * * *

Schierholz said judges in the circuit court and six superior courts have large backlogs of cases, but the way the state measures those backlogs is about to change. When the Indiana Office of State Court Services makes the modifications to the “weighted caseload measure” system, it will show that Hamilton County is in need of one or two more courtrooms, rather than four.

“What's changing are the rules, not the number of cases," Schierholz said. * * *

[County Commission President Steve] Dillinger said officials want to avoid the type of miscalculation made when a new juvenile detention center was built in 2007.

The $28.5 million facility was to hold what law enforcement officials expected would be a growing juvenile inmate population. But subsequent changes in state sentencing laws put more juveniles on probation and home detention rather than in jail. The facility, designed to hold 76 youth offenders, usually houses fewer than 10.

“The legislature is constantly tinkering with the laws, and sometimes it is hard to predict what they will do in the future,” Dillinger said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 16, 2017 09:48 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts