The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Cops, courts and fires

November 5, 2013

Indiana sees fewer jury trials

INDIANAPOLIS – The right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers may be the cornerstone of the American legal system, but it’s being exercised with less frequency in the state’s trial courts, according to a massive report released Monday.

Of the hundreds of thousands of civil and criminal cases that made their way through the courts in Indiana in 2012, only 1,334 cases were decided by a jury. That’s down from the 1,514 jury trials in 2010 and down from the 2,015 jury trials held in 2002.

Increasingly, cases are being disposed of in other ways, from guilty pleas and deferred prosecutions in criminal matters to mediation in civil cases.

The drop in jury trials – which reflects a nationwide trend over the last decade – is just one of the many pieces of court-related data contained in the 1,800-page 2012 Indiana Judicial Service and Probation Report posted on the Indiana Supreme Court website Monday.

The same report says more 300,000 people went to court without an attorney last year, raising concerns about the quality of justice they may have received.

It also found the number of new court filings is on the decline – as are court-generated revenues – from the peak year of 2 million new cases filed in 2008. In 2012, there were 1.6 million new cases filed.

Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson, who spoke to reporters about the report, said the decline in jury trials and court cases in civil matters may reflect concerns about both the financial costs of the legal system and an effort by warring parties to find another way to resolve their disputes. More people may be “realiz(ing) the wisdom of settling cases on their own terms rather than have a court impose a solution,” Dickson said.

Yet he also voiced some concern about fewer jury trials, saying it means fewer people are participating in the judicial system as jurors and that’s lessening public exposure to how the justice system works. “The jury trial is the lifeblood of the American judicial system,” Dickson said, later adding: “The public confidence in the jury system is crucial.”

Text Only
Cops, courts and fires
  • County doctor arrested on drug charges

    A Fishers doctor with ties to Pendleton was arrested Friday in a Drug Enforcement Administration raid of numerous doctor’s office in central Indiana.

    July 25, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 25 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 25, 2014

  • Accident.jpg Second person dies following Ind. 9 accident

    A second person has died from injuries following an accident Wednesday on Ind. 9. Clayton Crumley, 21, died at IU Health Methodist Hospital, officials said Thursday.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brown awarded $25,200 settlement A federal jury issued a split verdict in the discrimination case filed by Jack Brown against the city of Anderson that alleged violations of his free speech rights and the American Disabilities Act.

    July 24, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 24 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 24, 2014

  • Appeals Court: Pendleton prison worker harassed Indiana's prison agency forced a former female employee to work in a hostile environment at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, a federal appeals court in Chicago has ruled.

    July 23, 2014

  • NWS - HB0724 - Messersmith, Justin Man arrested at fair after witnesses say he battered his son A father was arrested at the Madison County 4-H Fair Tuesday night after witnesses said he went too far in disciplining his 4-year-old son.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arrest Log: July 23

    Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 23, 2014

  • Ratliff, Jaron Man in violation of probation, new charges A man involved in a May 20 incident where he allegedly eluded police and tried to grab a stun gun from one officer could get up to nine years on a separate suspended charge.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arrest Log: July 22 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Sunday and Monday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 21, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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