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County Council Approves Resolution for 4th Judge and Court Room

August 12, 2019

CourthouseThe Marshall County Council had a lengthy agenda that ended up being a three hour meeting on Monday.

Superior Court II, Judge Dean Colvin spent about 45 minutes presenting information on expanding the court system in the county by adding a fourth general jurisdiction court.  He said the idea came from a September 2018 meeting discussing the population of the jail, which over the weekend reached an all-time-high of 296.  It was down to 292 at meeting time.

Colvin explained the state’s measuring system for court performance and workload and highlighted where it showed we’ve needed another judge since 2009.  He also said the annual filling of case is 14,359 with a 68% disposal rate on new cases.

The judge talked about the trends they are seeing in the need for judicial resources in Marshall County.  Drugs are the leading cause for the increase in cases.

Colvin said Trial Rule 26 goes into effect on January 1st 2020 and will help reduce a segment of the population in the jail by qualifying for early release.  He noted that in the 2020 budget he added a case manager in Community Corrections for the Probation Department to assess those individuals who may qualify for release with no bond or own recognizance’s.

Councilman Jon VanVactor asked the judge if the fourth courtroom would need video conferencing added and Colvin said yes.

Councilwoman Judy Stone asked the judge where the bottleneck was in the system, thinking there weren’t enough public defenders and the judge said effective law enforcement with officer arresting those who are have offended and putting them into the system.

While adding a fourth court is not the fix all…it’s part of the solution along with adding a pod to the jail and other options.

Council members were told it would cost approximately $300,000 annually to budget for another court room and staff.

If the judge can convince the Committee of Courts and Code then a bill would need to be passed by legislation before the court could be added in Marshall County.  Meaning the earliest it could happen would be July 2020.

The County Council was supportive of the idea and passed a resolution in support of the plan.

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