Indiana Supreme Court

Phil Jern /

Indiana House Republicans want to shield their emails from the state public records law after citizen advocacy groups sued to access emails between a lawmaker and lobbyists. 

Attorneys argued the case before the State Supreme Court last week.

One focus of debate centered on an exemption in Indiana’s open records law for “legislative work product.”

The term isn’t defined.

An attorney for the House Republican caucus, Geoffrey Slaughter, says emails between legislators and constituents – including lobbyists – would clearly fall under that exemption.

IN Supreme Court

Governor Mike Pence will have an opportunity for the first time in his administration to appoint a Supreme Court Justice after Brent Dickson announced his plans Monday to retire.  

Dickson, who’s served on the State Supreme Court since 1986, says jokingly he doesn’t know why Governor Robert Orr appointed him nearly 30 years ago.  But he says he’s proud of the focus he’s had on ensuring lawyer civility during his time on the bench…and says collegiality should be a priority for the next justice.

Noah Coffey /

The Indiana Supreme Court is deciding whether sex offenders from other states should be automatically required to put their names on Indiana's offender registry.

A 2006 law declared any sex offender required to register in another state must register in Indiana if he moves here.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush questions the ramifications of the argument that Indiana shouldn’t blindly follow stricter registry requirements from other states.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Indiana’s synthetic drug law bars the sale of certain compounds and look-alikes, while allowing the pharmacy board to add new compounds to the list of banned substances. 

Two of the first people convicted under the law challenged the statute, claiming it was too vague to be constitutional. 

They also argued the General Assembly couldn’t delegate that much authority to an administrative agency, and the state Court of Appeals agreed.  But the Supreme Court went the other way. 

Rich Evers /

The Indiana Solicitor General Wednesday told the State Supreme Court that if the State Fair is held liable for victim settlement payouts of a private company involved in the 2011 stage collapse, the state could be liable for untold amounts of money. 

Kristin Andrus /

The Indiana Supreme Court upheld a trial court’s decision that schools are not required by the state constitution to provide transportation for students. 

Indianapolis' Franklin Township Schools stopped providing transportation for a year in 2011 in wake of a $16 million budget shortfall. Instead they hired a private company to bus students to and from school -- for a fee.

Parents filed a class-action lawsuit, in part arguing that the Indiana Constitution prohibits a school corporation from discontinuing busing.  

CASA Seeks Additional $2.1 Million In Annual Funding

Mar 9, 2015
Noah Coffey /

Hundreds of volunteers gathered at the Statehouse Monday to rally for increased funding for the state’s Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, program.

The program assigns volunteers to abused and neglected children who need a voice in the courtroom. More than 4,000 children in Indiana are waiting for CASA volunteers.

Adrienne Reed works with CASAs in Marion County and says there need to be twice as many volunteers to meet demand.

Joe Gratz /

Justices on Indiana’s Supreme Court and its Court of Appeals judges will get the chance to sit on the bench longer under a bill headed for the state House of Representatives.

The Indiana Constitution requires judges on the Supreme and Appeals courts to retire by an age set by the General Assembly. Current law sets the age at 75.

The bill from Senator Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, would raise the age to 80. That same bill failed in the Senate last year by a 24-24 vote.

This year it squeaked by with a 27-20 margin.

File photo

The Indiana Supreme Court technology team, led by Justice Steven David and Court of Appeals judge Paul Mathias, has already begun negotiations to purchase the software needed to bring e-filing to all 92 Indiana counties. 

Mathias notes that the federal courts have already moved to e-filing, which he calls a new basic responsibility of government.

“The clerks’ shelf space at the state and local level, the postage, the copying, the collating, a person’s time all along the way -- e-filing will do away with,” Mathias says.

Scott Wagner /

Monroe County officials are beginning work on a program they hope will reduce the number of people in the county’s jail and keep offenders from missing court appointments.

Using a $40,000 grant from the Indiana Supreme Court, the Monroe County probation department will start what’s called a pretrial release program.

It consists of a probation officer meeting with low-level offenders, screening them, then recommending whether they should be released to home detention or another community corrections program instead of being kept in jail while they wait for a trial.