Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

January 7, 2014

Probation workers' pay lifts court expenses

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Expenses to run Ripley County courts and the probation department are almost double the amounts spent for Franklin County justice, the 2012 Indiana Judicial Service Report Volume III shows.

Court expenditures for Ripley County in 2012 totalled $865,267, lower than $882,507 the year before.

In Franklin County, expenses that year were $472,478, up from the previous $425,084.

The difference between the two counties’ numbers is due to a significantly higher number of Ripley County court and probation employees. A total of $673,658 was spent on pay there. Circuit Court salary expenditures were $110,634: reporters, $73,447; bailiff, $32,187; and judge (county portion), $5,000. Superior Court salaries totalled $169,735: reporters, $62,930; bailiff, $33,133; judge (county portion), $5,000; salary fringe, $38,074; and another unspecified salary was $30,598.

The $393,289 probation total was divided into officers, $268,545 and staff $83,512. Salary fringe totalled $41,232.

Nonsalaried courts costs were $168,660. Most of that – $135,076 – was needed to pay for attorneys for 286 defendants declared too poor to fund their defenses. Also: $11,199, more indigent expenses; $10,689, jurors; $6,320, more probation expenses; $2,463, juvenile expenses; $1,025, judge pro tem; $1,015, medical psychiatric services; and $872, interpreter fees.

Other charges, such as printing, meals, training, tech, phones, dues and subscriptions, added up to $10,547. In addition, $8,761 was used for capital outlays, such as the legal library and supplies, and $3,641 for travel.

Of Franklin County’s $275,391 total for salaries, expenses for two Circuit courts, Division 1 and Division 2, were $123,002: reporters, $103,602; judges (county portion), $15,000; CASA, $4,000; and jury commissioner, $400.

Probation department costs of $152,389 included officers’ pay, $87,143; and staff, $20,255. Salary fringe amounted to $23,515 and an unspecified employee earned $21,476.

Other costs for the two courts added up to $168,840, including $130,847 for pauper attorneys for 191 defendants; $25,797, more probation expenses; $5,033, other; $4,270, jurors; $2,370, medical psychiatric services; $474, more indigent expenses; and $50, judge pro tem.

More charges, such as technology, rentals, dues, postage, printing, meals and subscriptions, totalled $6,443. In addition, $21,804 was used for capital outlays, mostly to update the legal library.

To help offset money flowing out, there are revenues the courts collect, which are obtained from defendants’ fees and fines and other sources.

They are funnelled to three levels of government. In Franklin County: $275,238, state; $239,040, county; and none, local. In Ripley County: $211,881, state; $151,922, county; and $4,528, local.

Court reporters also generated income by charging money for indigent, government and other transcripts; depositions; hearings; and copies. Four Franklin County reporters collected $1,443 and four Ripley County reporters $10,263.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

Snapshot of Indiana justice system finances • Cities, towns, townships, counties and the state spent $386 million to operate the courts in 2012. • Filing fees, court costs, user fees and fines generated $205 million in revenue that year. • Indiana's judicial system is funded by a combination of county tax revenues, state appropriations and user fees, according to the 2012 Indiana Judicial Service Report Volume III, which can be read in its entirety at www.in.gov/judiciary/admin/3118.htm. • Hoosier trial courts are funded primarily through county funds; however, state funds pay for judges' and magistrates' salaries, senior judges and some special judge expenses. Counties may choose to pay an additional amount toward the judges' and magistrates' pay. Counties may also receive state funds for reimbursement of approved pauper defense services and for Court-Appointed Special Advocate services for abused and neglected children.