Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

February 7, 2014

Plenty of cases for city court

Because Batesville is that rare city located in two counties, Batesville City Court Judge John Kellerman II hears cases from both Ripley and Franklin.

Starting his seventh year as judge, he explains, “There are no cases that come to my court automatically except if somebody is accused of violating a city ordinance.” In other cases, it's up to county prosecutors or plaintiffs whether or not they want to use the city court.

On Jan. 1, 2012, 697 cases were pending in the court, according to the 2012 Indiana Judicial Service Report and Probation Report. During the year, there were 524 new filings.

In 2012, the Batesville court disposed of 556 cases – 371 infractions, 146 civil collections, 32 ordinance violations, three civil plenary cases (a Latin term that means powerful or plenty, the dispute could involve money or an activity) and four miscellaneous civil problems. The city court doesn't have jurisdiction over felony cases.

On Dec. 31 of that year, the court had 665 pending cases.

Kellerman, who usually schedules court appearances on Wednesday afternoons because he also has a private law practice, conducted 55 bench trials in 2012. Forty-six were civil collection lawsuits.

He also made decisions during trials about seven infractions and two ordinance violations.

The judge ruled as well on nine infractions and 25 civil collections without trials, which is called “bench disposition” in the report. This means no witnesses were sworn and no evidence was introduced.

Kellerman dismissed 50 cases in 2012: 15 infractions, one ordinance violation, three civil plenary cases and 31 civil collections. He explains, "Sometimes the person will get charged with an infraction or criminal offense and these are folks that have pending charges in other courts, too. Sometimes the prosecutor, as part of the negotiation process, will agree to dismiss charges in one court in exchange for a guilty plea in another court." A lawsuit also could get dismissed if a plaintiff tells the court, "'I don't want to pursue my case anymore.'"

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