Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Russ Brown's Judicial Space Plan

Democrat Russ Brown, state senate candidate in District 31, offers a solution to address judicial space needs in Marion Co. He suggests converting the old city hall building at 202 N. Alabama, which serves as temporary space for the Indianapolis Central Library, as a court annex for Marion County's court system, as well as the Indiana Court of Appeals. Brown says of his proposal:

The Marion County court system has needed more space for almost a decade, and since the city already owns this historic building I think it's a logical fit. The state could also benefit from a partnership of this kind. My plan would call for consolidating the office space of the Indiana Court of Appeals into this historic Downtown location. This would allow more Statehouse space for committee hearings and other public business and place all of the Court of Appeals judges in one location. The additional County courtroom space will also serve as part of a long-term solution to the crisis that has recently hit Marion County's criminal justice system.

Brown's suggested use of the old city hall building is not new. The Indiana Supreme Court has explored a new judicial center for the state court system for the past 20 years. This building was offered as a possible site for a new judicial center, but the state courts expressed no interest. Their original desire was to build a new complex north of the State House where a parking lot currently exists. That plan got shot shelved when then-gubernatorial candidate Evan Bayh made a big issue of the project in the 1988 gubernatorial campaign as an example of the tax and spend policies of the Orr-Mutz administration. Since that time, the state court systems has focused its attention on higher judicial salaries as opposed to better office space.

The historic building definitely needs to be preserved for posterity. Personally, I would prefer to see the Mayor's office, key city/county personnel and the city-county council located in this building as opposed to the city-county building to restore some semblance of the "city hall" it once was. The city-county building lacks any architectural character and is just too chaotic in general. Moving these offices to the old city hall building would free up more space for the Marion Co. court system in the city-county building.


Sir Hailstone said...

That's funny. Seems Judge Cale Bradford suggested the same thing or similar during his budget hearing today before the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Cmte. Within the next few years new courts will be added and as of now they are scattered about the city.

Anonymous said...

This may be a good idea. But anything Cale Bradford says is suspect.

Remember, he had the judicial audacity to rule on the City Council redistricting lawsuit three years ago, when his brother was a candidate for the council.

Coupled with the bad judgment of our esteemed county clerk, that lawsuit cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in defense bills. They lost, badly, at the Court of Appeals.

People can change, but this was a colossal lack of good judgment.

And, the interior of the old City Hall building would need lots of remodeling. It's a beautiful building. Maybe it's more suited for regular offices, and some other C-C Bldg. offices could move there, freeing up room in the C-C building for more courts.