Monday, May 5, 2008

Why the Carroll County Courts are in Crisis

Unless the judges are successful in restoring funding, the court reporting staff of each court will be cut in half. There will be times during vacations and illness when a court will have no court reporter. The court offices will be unmanned and closed during jury trials and during the bailiff’s vacation. The number of cases scheduled for hearing each week will be cut in half. This will result in delays in bringing criminal defendants to trial, resolving custody disputes, resolving small claims, and many other matters. In simpliest terms, one court reporter will not be able to do the work of two, but the caseload and work will not be reduced.

The funds for the public defender will be gone well before the end of the year. The right to representation by an attorney is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the State of Indiana. The cases of defendants without the resources to employ their own attorney cannot be prosecuted if there is no public defender appointed. Delays resulting from the unavailability of public defenders and lack of staff may result in the dismissal of criminal cases.

Our efforts are to secure essential funds for the courts and not for personal gain. The county portion of our salary was among the first items eliminated by the county council. We do not seek the reinstatement of our salary. Our concern is for the judicial system in Carroll County and access to the courts for the citizens of the Carroll County.

Possible Contingency Plans are set out below.