Dickson also noted there were 307,612 people who went to court last year without an attorney. While they have the constitutional right to do, he said, he fears most of those people didn’t hire an attorney because they couldn’t afford it. Dickson has called for more attorneys to volunteer their time to do “pro bono” work representing indigent Hoosiers, saying every individual stepping into a courtroom should be represented by a lawyer.
The annual report is an exhaustive accounting of what goes on the trial courts in Indiana’s 92 counties. It shows, for example, that the number of mortgage foreclosure filings went up in 2012, after seeing a decline the year before. There were 33,876 mortgage foreclosures filed in 2012, up from the 30,272 filed in 2011. Still, the 2012 numbers are a drop from the peak of 45,000 mortgage foreclosures filed in 2008.
While the report shows a steady decline in the number of new cases filed in Indiana trial courts, it also shows a corresponding drop in court-generated revenues from a myriad of fines and fees, including the 50 different fees that have been imposed by the legislature on people who come through the court system. In 2010, the courts collected nearly $233 million in fines and fees. That amount dropped to $206 million last year.
The 1,800-page report, divided into volumes, can be found online at www.in.gov/judiciary. A website with county level comparative data can be found at publicaccess.courts.in.gov.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can reached at email@example.com