Goodin: Efforts to help overloaded court systems in Jefferson, Scott Counties gaining momentum

October 11, 2017 Terry Goodin

INDIANAPOLIS – An effort by State Rep. Terry Goodin (D-Austin) to help overloaded court systems in Jefferson and Scott Counties is gaining momentum among the lawmaker’s colleagues in the Indiana General Assembly.

Members of the Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary have agreed to support a request from Goodin that would enable both counties to gain court magistrates to assist in caseloads that have increased substantially in recent years. Goodin will file legislation calling for the creation of both positions for consideration during the 2018 legislative session.

“By virtually every standard used to measure such things, the caseloads for the court systems in Jefferson and Scott Counties have gone way up in recent years,’ Goodin noted. “Both counties rank in the top ten in terms of need for assistance in reducing court caseloads.

“In both instances, the increase in cases is attributable to the ongoing drug epidemic that has plagued so much of our state, and Southern Indiana in particular,” he continued. “We have seen a huge increase in both criminal cases involving the use of opioids, as well as cases involving Children in Need of Services (CHINS). The court systems in both counties simply cannot keep up with the demands being placed on them, and we are seeing justice delayed far too often than should be the case.”

Goodin’s efforts have drawn support from court and government officials in both counties.

“The committee’s blessings are a critical step forward in making these posts a reality,” Goodin said. “I will file bills to create these posts, and chances are good that both proposals will be folded into a larger bill that seeks added personnel in courts across this state.

“But the need is there, and the Legislature needs to do something,” he noted. “The crisis of drug abuse remains one of our state’s greatest problems, and we must act now, rather than later.”