Weather, law change create court clog

(WISH Photo, file)
(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Weather is partly to blame for a back up in the Marion County courts.

I-Team 8 uncovered the issue after trying to get a copy of a lawsuit filed with Marion Superior Court last week. Nearly 10 days later it still wasn’t there.

The civil office receives close to 700 pieces of mail every day. They are the filings for every criminal and civil court hearing in Marion County. But they’re running about 10 days behind and just now opening and filing mail received Feb. 20.

“It’s a combination of things. Certainly weather has been a factor. We’ve had an increase in filings due to statutory changes,” said Scott Hohl, chief deputy of the Marion County clerk’s office.

Filings that had previously been done in small claims court are now filed in civil court. Also, since July they’ve seen about 700 more filings just due to the second chance law, allowing people who have stayed out of trouble to close out portions of previous convictions. The new statutes add to the 80,000 filings they already handle each year.

“For the most part, we have already looked at these and made sure if anything has a deadline we are processing those immediately,” Hohl said, standing in front of boxes.

He says there are no delays with anyone’s case being handled according to the law. The boxes have been opened, reviewed and stamped, but they still have to be manually entered into the computer system.

“Obviously we’d like to be caught up day-to-day and we’re not quite there, but we are doing some things internally, having staff stay extra time,” Hohl said.

They hope to be caught up by the end of this week and back on track.

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