On Jan. 30 Judge John Kellerman, wearing a suit and tie instead of a long robe, presided over a civil court session in Batesville with court clerk Debbie Krause sitting next to him.
At a nearby table in the Memorial Building council chambers sat Southeastern Indiana YMCA chief financial director Ted Harmeyer and child care assistant director Dawn Denny. Two fathers owed $321 and $478 to the Y’s Learning Center. Neither had appeared at previous hearings after receiving court notices. They didn’t show up today either.
The judge asked, “What would you like to see happen?”
Denny suggested setting up payment plans for the men. According to Harmeyer, “There has been zero contact the last couple of months. We’re willing to work with them.”
They decided to one man’s garnish wages. Of the other, Kellerman said, “As you know, the order to appear says in bold and underlined letters, ‘Failure to appear will result in a body attachment ... law enforcement can arrest the person” with bail set in the unpaid amount.” The judge was hesitant to issue a warrant, however, because a police officer left the notice in the door and he was unsure the man received it. “I’m going to give ... (him) one more chance to appear. Police will get the notice into his hands.”
A female defendant was put on the spot when she didn’t show up for her 1:30 p.m. hearing. With landlord Dennis Niese listening in, the judge put Tiffany Marksberry on speakerphone. Niese was seeking enforcement of a Jan. 15 court order stating Marksberry was supposed to vacant his Milan apartment by Jan. 20 at 5 p.m., but she was still living there.
“I’m actually leaving today,” she reported. She said the paper was served the night before, but she couldn’t notify the court of her absence because “I had to leave and work third shift.”