Local News

November 18, 2012

Cass sees increases in case filings

Increases strain court resources, schedule

The number of case filings in Cass County went up in 2011, bucking the statewide trend of an overall decline.

In the county’s three courts, the big increases came as the number of misdemeanors rose almost 18 percent from 2010 to 2011 and the majority of felonies all rose by more than 29 percent, with a 100 percent increase in class A felonies, according to the 2011 Indiana Judicial Service Report. While court offices strained to keep up with the work, judges and prosecutors speculate that the increase was a result of the county’s poor economy and increased police work.

Statewide, Indiana saw the number of filings decrease in both civil and criminal cases from 2010 to 2011, with a 9.65 percent decrease from 1,859,870 to 1,680,412, according to the report. The total number of combined misdemeanor and felony cases dropped 3.31 percent.

From 2010 to 2011, Cass County had the biggest increases in class A felonies, which rose from 10 to 20 cases filed, followed by class B felonies, which had a 32 percent increase from 44 to 58, according to data provided by the court. The next largest increases were in class D felonies, which rose 29 percent, and misdemeanors, which rose 18 percent.

Class C felonies decreased about 6 percent from 88 to 83.

Cass County Prosecutor Kevin Enyeart said the numbers are “significant,” and pointed to the economy, which he said may be worse in Cass County than in other areas.

“I’m thinking the statewide numbers have to be related to an economic recovery,” Enyeart said.

Cass Superior Court I Judge Thomas Perrone, who oversees the small claims filings and class D felonies, also said he believed there was some correlation to the economy, and people not being able to pay for services or stealing out of need.

“You can relate some of that to the economy,” Perrone said. “People are not able to pay those bills.”

Due to the county’s decline in industrial labor, Cass Superior Court II Judge Rick Maughmer said he believes people are committing more crimes because many have lost their jobs in the past few years.

“They’ve lost their jobs, they’re continuing now to commit crimes. The relatives are now committing crimes,” Maughmer said.

Maughmer also pointed to an overall lack of educational resources and what he feels is a decline in character.

“One of the other problems is people seem to be losing their moral compass,” Maughmer said.

Outside of the economy, Cass County Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Achey said he feels the increased numbers are due to a rise in law enforcement.

Maughmer said the increase in court filings was also clearly reflected in the weighted caseload, which measures the amount of work each of the three courts is doing. A balanced number for all three courts is 3.0, Maughmer said, but in 2011 the number was at 3.73.

“The three courts are almost doing the work of three and three-fourths courts,” Maughmer said.  

A large number of the cases also come from non-criminal cases like divorce proceedings and small claims, Maughmer said.

Maughmer and Perrone both said their staffs had to work hard to keep up with the work schedule.

“We have a fairly corroded schedule,” Perrone said.

Maughmer added that a high number of small claims cases and divorce proceedings fill their schedules.

The higher level felonies, in particular, weigh on the prosecutor’s office, Enyeart said.

“When you get to a higher level felony, that’s when you use a lot of resources as prosecutors,” Enyeart said.

Cass County Clerk Beth Liming also said her staff is feeling the increase in filings and just works to do what it can on a daily basis.

“You can see the increase,” Liming said.

So far in 2012, Enyeart said he believes the numbers will be “very similar” to 2011, other than a slight decrease in high-level felonies. That decrease is due to some of the 2012 drug cases going to the federal level, he said.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NWS-PT042014 Monk String-MAK Local Lao-Thai celebration brings 'new year, new life' Five Buddhist monks sat cross-legged on the stage of the Cass County Memorial Home Saturday morning, draped in orange robes, their hair cropped close to their heads. Those in attendance sat and knelt on rugs before them, many wearing sashes over thei

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • Hospital CEO calls for growth Logansport Memorial Hospital's president and CEO said the facility will continue with its goals for growth in his State of the Hospital address Friday. Among the hospital's goals for 2013 were to preserve existing net revenues and resources, achieve

    April 20, 2014

  • NWS-PT042014 ballistics vest.jpg Protective investment: Family donates dog's bulletproof vest A local family recently donated a bulletproof vest to protect the Cass County Sheriff's Department's new canine, Kurby. Dr. Gerhardt Winkel III, his wife Stephanie and their children Elizabeth and Benjamin donated the vest because Kurby is a Belgian

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-PT042014 miami co crash.jpg Two injured in Miami County crash PERU -- Two people were injured Thursday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. 24 and Ind. 19. According to a preliminary crash investigation by Indiana State Police, Rachael Pegg, 23, Mexico, was driving a 2002 Oldsmobile Intr

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-PT042014 smith retirement.jpg Pastor retiring after 36 years After 36 years at Logansport First Church of the Nazarene, the Rev. Dr. Horace Smith thinks it's time to call it quits. Smith is preaching his last sermon next Sunday as the church's pastor. He and wife Linda Smith plan to remain in Logansport, which

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police blotter: April 19, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 19, 2014

  • UPDATED: Logansport HS teacher arrested on child seduction charge

    A Logansport High School teacher was arrested Thursday on a charge of child seduction.

    April 18, 2014

  • Police blotter: April 18, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 18, 2014

  • NWS-PT041814 LC50 cords.jpg 50 years later WALTON -- Dean "D.A." Zehring graduated from the current Lewis Cass High School, but he never attended classes there. It's one of the unique characteristics of the graduating class of 1968, the first class to complete all four years of high school un

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Caston considers Logan bus stop FULTON -- Caston Schools administrators are considering establishing a bus stop a few miles outside its boundaries on the north side of Logansport. The school board recently discussed the feasibility of adding a bus stop for students transferring fro

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

     View Results