The September 26, 2006 minutes of the General Assembly’s Commission on Courts is available. The Commission voted to endorse providing for additional magistrates in Floyd and Franklin Counties. In Indiana’s legal system, a magistrate performs most of the same duties as a judge, but the magistrate is not elected and serves under the authority of the judge(s) in the county. They tend to help with case loads that are too heavy for the current judicial capacity in situations where the case loads might not justify an additional court in the county or where the resources for an additional court simply are not available.
Franklin County is apparently experiencing population increases as people relocate from Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Oxford, Ohio.
Jackson County is, once again, seeking the creation of a second Superior Court. Apparently last year, the legislation was moving forward, but there was not sufficient will in Jackson County to fund the court. That has been rectified according to Bill Bailey, President of the Seymour Chamber of Commerce. Putnam County is seeking to add an additional court by 2009.
I am not entirely familiar with the situation in Jefferson, Dearborn, Ohio, and Switzerland Counties, but if I recall correctly they are structured differently in terms of their judicial circuits. Typically, in Indiana, the boundaries of the judical circuit coincide with the county boundaries. Not so in the above referenced counties. Instead, there is a Switzerland/Jefferson Circuit, a Switzerland/Ohio Circuit, and a Dearborn/Ohio Circuit. Switzerland County is attempting to create its own judicial circuit and there is at least some concern as to what this might do to the other counties that currently share circuits with Switzerland County. The Commission on Courts decided that the matter still needs further analysis and did not make an endorsement one way or the other.