FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 22, 2016
House Bill supporting Indiana’s judges sent to governor
STATEHOUSE (Feb. 22, 2016) – The Indiana House of Representatives voted unanimously today in support of State Rep. Tom Washburne’s (R-Evansville) bill creating a pilot program providing additional resources to judges with demanding workloads.
“With this bill we are trying to establish a full program that would assist superior and circuit court judges in researching and writing opinions on complex motions,” Washburne said. “We want to put our state judges in the same situation as our federal judges.”
In Indiana, circuit and superior court judges are solely responsible for research, writing and editing of their motions. A motion clerk could assist judges in crafting opinions on motions which are particularly complex.
“Our judges are superb, but their caseloads can be overwhelming,” Washburne said. “They have so many responsibilities that it would be unreasonable to ask them to drop and write for a week.”
The goal would be to help parties avoid lengthy litigation, and if state or local unites of government are involved, would help reduce their costs.
This pilot program would include at least three counties of varying populations and would be run by the Indiana Judicial Center (IJC). The IJC would then establish guidelines for courts that use the pilot program.
The program would allow either senior judges, third-year law students or staff attorneys to assist with complex motion filing in certain civil cases. It would also give law students and new staff attorneys experience in the field while assisting judges.
Organizations supporting this bill include the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Judicial Center and the Indiana Judges Association.
The bill has already been to the Senate and was presented back to the House with an amendment.The next step is for the bill to move to the governor’s office.
Rep. Washburne represent Gibson, portions of Knox, Pike, Vanderburgh and Posey counties. He is the chair of the Courts and Criminal Code Committee and also serves on the Financial Institutions Committee and the Judiciary Committee.