Indiana: bill would bring the total number of trial court types in the state back to 7

There’s a longĀ  fascinating history to the way in which Indiana has organized and reorganized its trial courts, including courts that no longer exist (County Courts, Common Pleas, Quarter Sessions, Justice of the Peace) detailed in this 1997 article. The most recent iteration, the end of the state’s County Courts, occurred only recently. Still, with their end Indiana has one of the largest number of court types in the nation with at the present time 6 (Superior, Circuit, Probate, City, Town, and Small Claims Court of Marion County). A bill, introduced last week, would raise that number back to 7.

Under HB 1523 any city, town, or county could create an ordinance violation court that, as the name implies, would have jurisdiction over only code and ordinance violations. The local governing body would limited to how much it could compel the court to collect as a court fee against a defendant ($200). Judges of the court would be selected by the local governing body to 1 year terms and would not have to be attorneys.

HB 1523 is currently pending in the House Courts and Criminal Code committee.