IU Center for Urban Policy and the Environment to Study Court Reform

November 24, 2008

The Indiana University Center for Urban Policy and the Environment (CUPE) will work with the Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration to study ways to make the state’s system of trial courts more equitable and efficient.

The Division of State Court Administration plans to use the court system study to assess the viability of one of the many reforms called for in the extensive report issued last year by the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform. The bipartisan commission, organized by Governor Mitch Daniels and chaired by former Governor Joe Kernan and Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard, made 27 recommendations for streamlining local government, including shifting Indiana’s trial courts to a state funding model.

CUPE will partner with the Indiana University School of Law–Indianapolis’ Program on Law and State Government to analyze Indiana’s current system and assess the ways other states manage and fund court operations. The study will pay particular attention to governing, budgetary and personnel issues. Next summer, the center plans to present its findings to the Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration, along with a series of options to consider for coordinating and streamlining Indiana’s court system.

“This study will take a critical look at how other states have approached managing and paying for their local courts,” said CUPE Director John Krauss. “Our goal is to identify ways Hoosiers can be assured equal access to services from the courts and that they’re being funded in the most cost-effective way.”

Krauss and his team of researchers last year staffed the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform. Their work included organizing community meetings across the state to gather testimony and data, and assisting in drafting the commission’s final report. To access the full report click here.