Clark County Courts BUSTING at the SEAMS Part 1

There are no Courts, taken as a whole, NONE in the whole State of Indiana that handle a heavier case load than our Clark County Courts.  People love to complain and cry about what they perceive as inadequacies or failures of the Courts.  This article is to provide some perspective to this issue.  Here  in Clark County we have 4 Circuit Courtrooms, i.e., 4 judges. We have 2 Magistrates. We also have Jeffersonville City Court and Clarksville Town Court. (These latter two handle only misdemeanors DUI, Battery, Public Intox. etc.,)   According to figures released in a survey by the Indiana Supreme Court, our Clark County Judges are handling, on average, about 1800 more cases a year…PER COURT than the average Indiana judge handles.   Last year, there were 1,624,751 cases filed in Indiana.  Those were distributed between 464 judges and magistrates for an average workload of 3501 cases per judge.   In Clark County, however, we had 38,542 cases filed. Most of these were not in the town or city courts but, regardless,  dividing these amongst judges, magistrates and the municipal courts, means the judges in Clark County, on average, handled 4,817 cases per judge.

Take a look at some comparable sized counties.  Clark has a population of about 112,000.   Over in Delaware County, they have a population of @117,000. With 10 courts and 27,456 new cases,  Delaware courts handle about 2,745 cases per judge. Look at LaPorte County. Population 111,000.  They have 8 courts…but only 27424 new cases for a workload of 3,474 cases per judge.   Here is the raw data  from the Indiana Supreme Court:  CLICK on IMAGE for ENHANCED VIEW
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19 comments for “Clark County Courts BUSTING at the SEAMS Part 1

  1. Bruce
    January 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I wonder if Delaware and LaPorte counties also have magistrates on top of that?

  2. Earl Wasson
    January 15, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    A partial solution to this issue would be more selective prosecution of defendants. Cases from minor alcohol related offenses to the possession of small amounts of marijuana end up on probation. Indiana laws are insane. We now prosecute all social problems. In Clark Co. the possession of one pill often results in a felony charge and years of probation. Clark County acts as though having one pill of a controlled substance makes one a major menace to the community. God help you if you are pulled over and searched. A couple of Viagra pills loose in your pocket will turn you into a hardened felon. No pun intended. For those of you who are “tough on crime” its your hard earned tax dollar spent on this nonsense. Its all about the money folks! The more criminals we have the more police, probation officers, judges, attorneys, jails and prisons we need. Welcome to the prison-industrial complex.

    • Tina Taxpayer
      January 15, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      Well said. If the prosecutors choose to file all charges that come across their desk then the courts will have a ton of cases. Also being tough on crime is very costly. I hate the thought of my taxes going up to keep someone in jail for a small crime. Why should I pay for their meals and medical care when they just had a Viagra or joint?

  3. Riverboat
    January 15, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    JPD Needs to stop sending stupid small crimes to jail.Take a look at Clarksville, these guys are A1 and hitting high level offenders! Great job CPD.. Get it together JPD, you guys are looking pathetic.

  4. Riverboat
    January 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    JPD needs to stop sending stupid small crimes to jail.Take a look at Clarksville,these guys are A1 and hitting high level offenders! Great job CPD.Get it together JPD,you guys are looking pathetic.

  5. Amy
    January 16, 2014 at 5:48 am

    On the flip side of the above point of views, I would like to add the following: It has been my personal experience that not all crimes warranting prosecution, charges and jail time get their day in court.

  6. kellry
    January 16, 2014 at 6:49 am

    I appreciate several of the comments above. It pains me greatly that resources are consumed on the petty while the government tragically fails to serve its legitimate function of protecting individual rights, among them, life and liberty.

  7. Mike
    January 16, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Goliath, to help the voters decide who to vote for this year how about posting how many new cases each of our 4 judges handle a year? The total number of cases is interesting, breaking the cases down by judge should be more interesting!

    • January 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Mike, stay tuned for “Part 2”

      • January 16, 2014 at 9:12 pm

        I can tell you right now that Judge Joe Weber is far and away overwhelmed and handles a huge docket.

        • January 16, 2014 at 9:14 pm

          On the other hand, Check out Dan Moore,…the guy has had at least 13 or more trial in 2013 including a death penalty case. He is working his judicial *** off.

          • Mike
            January 16, 2014 at 9:24 pm

            Is it fair to say the smallest judge handles the largest number of cases and the largest judge handles the smallest number of cases?

  8. January 16, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Judge Weber is handling the most cases by far. Judge Moore is handling an excess amount but less than 2 and 4 …however, his cases are upper level felonies …a la’ the capitol murder case. A and B felonies for the most part. Judge Carmichael carries a heavy load. She handles upper level felonies plus all the juvenile cases in the county. Bottom line is that all the judges are over loaded.

    • January 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Maybe we should have accepted the offer from the state a few years back to start a new court here in Clark Co. Floyd Co. took them up on the offer and now has Floyd Superior Court 3 to show for it. Wonder if the offer is still open. If so we should take it and reduce each courts work load by 1/4th.

  9. 'Hood
    January 16, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    G: An excellent breakdown of the hard work of the judges!
    It is good to see honest journalism and a very informative
    and knowledgeable follow up analysis!
    Compliments!!!

  10. The Dalai Lemme
    January 17, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Beware of anyone running for prosecutor that runs solely on the “tough on crime” position. If it is suggested that they are going to lock more people in jail “where they belong,” ask them where that 24 story jail is. I’m all for locking up a problem. Part of the job of the stewards of our resources is to make sure we have jail space for the criminal that needs to be in it. The jail isn’t going to get much bigger. Pick your battles. That means being realistic and truthful about the job of prosecuting. That might not get you on tv as much…

    • January 17, 2014 at 11:09 am

      Is that not part of the reason behind the whole sentencing reform bill to force the local get tough on crime prosecutors to find other ways of dealing with small time criminals such as probation, home incarceration and work release. Maybe if we could use these programs more, the jail and prisons would be reserved for the truly bad people they were intended for in the first place.

      • January 17, 2014 at 11:24 am

        You are right on Bob. However, my impression is that the reform got ‘reformed’ somewhat. Law and Order types got their hands on it and had some success in making it harsher. It remains to be seen if, in practice, it will be ‘better’ or worse.

        • January 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm

          That is what makes a fourum like this so important. It allows people to hear all sides of a story and then be able to make an educated decision, not one based on the publicezed belief that every person who commits a crime is a BAD person. This is far from true. Those who are truly bad deserve to be locked away. The others you should try to help them and then if that does not work other options are always available.

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