Pharos-Tribune

State News

October 29, 2012

Indiana courts seeing decrease in filings

INDIANAPOLIS — The numbers of criminal and civil cases filed in Indiana are on a downward trend in a wide range of categories, from murder charges to mortgage foreclosures, according to a newly released report that also shows an upward trend in the money that counties are spending to keep offenders out of prison.

The 2011 Indiana Judicial Service Report, released Monday, shows the overall number of criminal and civil cases being handled by judges and court personnel down to about where it was a decade ago. The 1.6 million cases filed in 2011 marks the second lowest number of cases filed in Indiana courts since 2002, and shows a significant drop from the nearly 1.9 million cases filed in 2008.

But that 1.6 million number — which covers everything from felony criminal prosecutions to divorce cases — also shows the frequency in which Indiana residents come into contact with the state’s court system, said Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson.

“Other than the BMV, I can’t think of any other state agency that touches so many citizens as the courts,” said Dickson during a press conference in which details of the report were released.

The report on the state’s trial courts, compiled annually by the Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of State Court of Administration, is massive. At 1,700 pages, covering three volumes, it includes an exhaustive amount of information about the number and nature of court filings, including court cases and court expenditures by county.  

It shows, for example, that the number of juvenile delinquency cases handled by the courts was down to about 19,500 last year — about 6,500 fewer cases than filed in 2002. But the number of cases involving the termination of parental rights — typically involving cases where children have been abused or neglected — was up to 2,718 in 2011. That’s about 1,200 more than 2002.

The number of murder cases filed in Indiana has dropped almost steadily from 293 cases filed a decade ago to the 193 cases filed in 2011, marking a 31 percent decrease in filings. The number of felony criminal cases filed has increased 18 percent since 2002, while the number of misdemeanor cases has dropped by 15 percent in a decade.

The report also shows that the number of mortgage foreclosure filings is down more than 30 percent since 2008 — the beginning of the mortgage foreclosure crisis that’s still feeling felt. There were more than 45,000 mortgage foreclosures filed in 2008; the number dropped to 30,272 in 2011.

The number of civil collection filings and small claims filings also continued to drop from 2010 to 2011, though the number of cases involving divorce and protective orders are still steadily increasing. The number of filings for protective orders has gone up by 35 percent, from 2002 to 2011.

Dickson credited a variety of factors for the overall drop in criminal and civil cases since 2008, when nearly 2 million cases were filed. Among them, he said, was the increasing cost of civil litigation and attorney fees; the increase in dispute-resolution programs aimed at keeping people out of the courts; and an increase in diversion programs that allow traffic violators and some low-level offenders to avoid criminal charges.

“Strenuous efforts in alternative dispute resolution and mediation are, we think, reaping effects where people are taking responsibilities for settling their own disputes and maintaining control of their lives a little bit better than happens when a matter goes into litigation,” Dickson said.

One area that’s seen a major increase, according to the report: the cost of probation services borne by counties. The cost of providing probation services, which include drug and substance abuse treatment programs, community-based supervision of offenders, and other efforts aimed at keeping offenders out of prison, was up to nearly $90 million in 2011 — an increase of more than $20 million since 2007.

The full report can be found online at the Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of Court Administration, at www.in.gov/judiciary/admin.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • NWS-PT040714 Hogsett mug.jpg The job? Guarding public trust INDIANAPOLIS -- Joe Hogsett was being vetted for the job of U.S. Attorney four years ago when he asked a federal judge for advice. That judge observed that there hadn't been a high-profile public corruption case in the southern district of Indiana s

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Flood Insurance Indiana [Duplicate] Indiana braces for flood insurance subsidy changes INDIANAPOLIS -- Thousands of Indiana homeowners who live in flood-prone neighborhoods are bracing for insurance premium increases, despite Congress' latest fix for the government's debt-saddled flood insurance program. More than 13,300 Indiana homeow

    March 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-PT031714 Wolkins mug.jpg Zooming through: Rules on mo-peds headed to governor's desk INDIANAPOLIS -- Rep. Dave Wolkins could only oppose mo-ped regulations for so long, as more bikes zipped along the roads and were involved in an increasing number of accidents. So Wolkins -- who spent five years fighting to keep Indiana among the few

    March 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prison inmates part of new Legion post TERRE HAUTE -- Wearing khaki-colored matching uniforms, more than 20 veterans inside a maximum-security prison stood tall to salute the flag of the United States at an event that welcomed them as new American Legion members. These men, inmates at the

    March 17, 2014

  • NWS-PT031414 beer alcohol.jpg Old ban on beer booze level may be tapped out INDIANAPOLIS -- Loughmiller's Pub across from the Statehouse is a favorite hangout for legislators and lobbyists who like the tavern's menu of gourmet burgers and craft beers. State police are regular lunch customers, as are state officials who regul

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Indiana House leader: Tax, preschool deals near INDIANAPOLIS -- Republican leaders working on a series of last-minute compromises on top-tier issues of tax cuts, preschool and road funding announced Tuesday they were close to final agreements. "I say agreement in principle because we still have to

    March 12, 2014

  • Same-sex couples sue state over ban LOUISVILLE -- Erin Brock says she's prepared to fight to have her love legally recognized by the state of Indiana. Brock and her fiancé Melissa Love share a home and children in Jeffersonville and are one of four same-sex couples from Southern Indian

    March 10, 2014

  • Ivy Tech's $83M wish list meets skeptical audience INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Ivy Tech Community College says it needs $83 million more from the state so it can double its enrollment and graduation rates and help the state meet its own goal of increasing the number of Indiana residents with post-high-schoo

    March 9, 2014

  • Bill ends automatic license suspensions for many crimes INDIANAPOLIS -- Unpaid parking fines, falling behind on child support, drunken driving: So many offenses trigger a suspended driver's license in Indiana that more than a half-million Hoosiers have lost their driving privileges. In fact, driving on a

    March 7, 2014

  • NWS-PT030314 Zionsville bus.jpg Rolling billboards: Legislation may create pilot program INDIANAPOLIS — Cash hungry schools may start selling ads on the sides of buses to make up millions of dollars lost because of property tax caps. Legislation moving through the General Assembly would create a pilot program allowing a few districts to

    March 3, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

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

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Parade
Magazine

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.