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Indiana Statehouse

Source: Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

STATEHOUSE — Indiana’s judicial system is strong, says Indiana’s chief justice Loretta Rush.

In her annual State of the Judiciary address to lawmakers at the Indiana Statehouse on Wednesday, Justice Rush highlighted the state’s use of technology, the adoption of problem-solving courts, outreach, and how they are addressing the shortage of attorneys and judges, particularly in rural areas.

Rush took lawmakers on a “tour” around the state to show them how their investment in the judicial system has created a return on investment through the judicial system’s outreach initiatives.

“In Floyd County, Judge Carrie Stiller and her county leaders are using your investment to strengthen their community,” Rush said. “They’re fulfilling the constitutional imperative that justice be tempered with mercy based on principles of reformation.”

Rush said Floyd County’s transition court initiatives are helping drug offenders get the help they need in order to break free of the cycle of litigation.

“In Vigo County, family recovery courts are taking a holistic approach to end the cycle of generational DCS involvement by giving people the tools to do the work themselves,” said Rush. “What better investment can we make than for children to be safely reunited with their parents?”

It’s not all good news though as Rush said there is growing concern about a shortage of lawyers in Indiana. Rush said there are some counties that are coming dangerously close to being unable to fulfil certain constitutional rights of people who are being prosecuted simply because there are not enough qualified people are resources to do so.

She said last year several judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement stakeholders got together for a first-of-its-kind summit to discuss the issue.

“We are calling on some who attended that summit to help us find solutions,” she said. “Such innovation means examining broader pathways to legal education and bar admission and alternative forms of law licensure.’

Overall, she praised the “Holcomb Hundred” as she called them, praising state lawmakers and Gov. Eric Holcomb for appointing 100 new judges in his two terms as governor.