The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Annual Report: Health & Public Service

March 22, 2010

2009 saw changes in the courts

Courts get new round of judges, create crime prevention programs

ANDERSON, Ind. – The very year that America opted for a major change in the executive branch with the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Madison County’s judicial branch followed suit with three new judges and several initiatives to prevent crime before it happens.

Superior Court 2 Judge George Pancol started the new year replacing Judge Jack Brinkman after his retirement. Superior Court 4 Judge David Happe was sworn-in in May after the sudden death of Judge David W. Hopper. And Circuit Court Judge Rudolph Pyle was sworn-in in October after Judge Fredrick Spencer retired amid scrutiny of his decisions.

“For 18 years, it was the same six,” said Jim Hunter, administrator for the Madison County Courthouse. “It changes the dynamic a little bit.”

Pyle has made a few changes since his appointment by Gov. Mitch Daniels.

After years of Spencer’s refusals to join the other five county courts, Pyle joined the unified system.

“He gives them (the other five judges) a sixth voice,” Hunter said. “So, now, all the courts are unified and on the same page.”

He also has updated his courtroom with a plasma screen television for attorneys to present visual evidence, and installed wireless Internet. The latter is an initiative that Hunter said will soon spread throughout the third and fourth floors of the courthouse.

“We don’t exactly know when it’ll get started, but it’s been given the thumbs up that we’re going to do it,” he said.

The Madison County Courthouse has also become a national leader in specialty court programs aimed at stopping the cycle of crime.

The courts received a nearly $1 million federal stimulus grant in September to combine their three “problem solving courts” under one umbrella, one of possibly two courts in the nation to do so.

Hunter said they spent the rest of the year arranging the staff – hiring Ed Fry as the coordinator, moving drug court case manager Kathy Noel to assistant coordinator and hiring Dr. Treva Bostic as the case manager.

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Annual Report: Health & Public Service
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