2013-04-04 / Front Page

Legislation Adding Judge To Owen County’s Circuit Court Addresses Decade-Old Issue

Staff Report

Legislation adding judicial officials in three counties unanimously passed out of the Indiana House of Representatives on Tuesday. Sponsored by State Representative Bob Heaton (R-Terre Haute), Senate Bill (SB) 486 will now go to the governor’s desk to wait for his signature before becoming law.

“Most counties have several judicial officers who share a demanding workload, but for over a decade, Owen County Circuit Court has been struggling with only one judge to take care of the increasing number of cases,” Heaton said. “In addressing this issue, I am pleased this bill passed with bipartisan support adding a second judge in Owen County. This will ease the burden faced by the Honorable Judge Lori Thatcher Quillen – the only circuit court judge in the county.”

Out of the Commission on Courts Summer Study Committee, SB 486 authorizes three counties to add judicial officials to their court system. The bill authorizes Superior Court judges in Hendricks County to appoint a third magistrate and in Hamilton County two magistrates. This will be effective as of July 1, 2013.

Additionally, the bill adds a second judge to the Owen Circuit Court and will be effective January 1, 2015.

“I am really happy that this piece of legislation passed, and I appreciate Representative Heaton, along with the other lawmakers and Governor Pence, who helped this legislation get through this time after many attempts,” Judge Thatcher Quillen said. “This is a huge blessing for Owen County to get a second judge, which has been a struggle for many years. Due to the sheer volume of cases, this bill creates proper access to our courts that Owen County residents deserve, and through this legislation people will now be able to have their day in court and continue on with their lives.”

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