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Marion County Traffic Court closing in May

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — I-Team 8 has answers on why the traffic court is closing in Marion County.

We first reported on the proposed Marion Superior Court rule changes on Monday.

The rules, submitted by Judge Charnette Garner, initially said the court was closing on March 30.

The Marion Superior Court Executive Committee told I-Team 8 traffic court is actually closing on May 31 after the current traffic court judge retires.

The committee said they review the distribution of cases in the courthouse regularly. They claim declining traffic court filings and other areas of need prompted the closing of the traffic court.
Defense Attorney Kassi Rigney said, “This is kind of the way that it’s ebbed, and flowed over the years. We’ve had specialty courts in Marion County and we’ve gone back to general courts.”

Rigney has tried cases in traffic court before.

She explained the types of cases this change will impact, “They’re citation level cases, but speeding, driving while suspended, any type of traffic offense,” Rigney said.

At the time I-Team 8 broke the story on Monday, we didn’t know exactly what would happen to the 48,000 cases the court handles a year.
The Marion Superior Court Executive Committee told I-Team 8 all misdemeanor cases will be handled by already existing courtrooms.

Traffic violations will be on a consolidated court docket to make sure there will not be any delays in those cases getting resolved.
Essentially it’s just the same number of workload is basically the same as it has been, but it’s just not in one specific courtroom?

“Yes, yes, but how well that works it just kind of depends on individual courts and how responsive individual people were,” Rigney said.

Rigney told I-Team 8 this change will impact drivers the most.

Creating an increased emphasis for people if their case holds significant consequences.
“Make sure to respond to tickets and reach out to the prosecutor’s office, mind court dates, because little things like a miscommunication about a court date could get your license suspended and then you could lose your job and this kind of thing, so being proactive on your own account or hiring an attorney to help you do that,” Rigney said.

One group of people this change doesn’t impact is traffic Court employees.

The Marion Superior Court Administrator said all employees will still have a job.

A source gave I-team 8 an internal document that said traffic court will transition into a new family division court once it closes down.

Rigney told I-Team 8 these court rules are flexible, so if the plan does not work the Marion Superior Court Executive Committee can always bring traffic court back.