WARSAW — The courts ruled the night as they presented three requested for additional funds Thursday night, Dec. 14, at the Kosciusko County Council meeting.
The talk of the night was two grant requests for the juvenile court system. Prosecutor Dan Hampton first requested to initiate the teen court funded by a juvenile diversion grant for $85,000. The teen court would free up loss time to both the courts and probation officers. “It’s a new program…Those cases would normally get handled in juvenile court under informal supervisory situation and takes up the courts time and the probation officer’s time in supervising rehabilitation of those juveniles,” explained Hampton.
The teen court would be housed at the K21 pavilion on the Kosciusko Community Hospital campus. Along with free up time at the courts, Hampton hopes that it will be “helping with juvenile case load, as [the juvenile] case load has increased tremendously.”
Along with receiving a grant to start a teen court, Juvenile Court Judge David Cates requested the opportunity to go after the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative grant. The grant would provide $50,000 for a three year rehabilitation program for teens with an additional $25,000 for a fourth year. “Three years ago I was told don’t apply because with the number of counties seeking this funds there would not be funds until 2019. The Supreme Court reached out to me to address the issue,” stated Cates.
The grant would provide funding to look at additional programs to help rehabilitate juveniles booked for shoplifting, tobacco, truancies and low level batteries. “Since I took over juvenile court judge three years ago, delinquency filings are up approximately 51 percent,” informed Cates. “Teen court will help that, but I want some additional options locally.”
However, delinquency cases are not the only cases increase as Judge Michael Reed requested an additional $80,000 for public defender services. Reed explained that 80 percent of cases were public council cases, and during 2017, the courts reported 95 more cases than the previous year. Along with the additional cases, Indiana increased the payment of public defenders from $75 per hour to $90 per hour.
In other news:
- The council approved the appointment of Keith Schwartz at Nappanee Library.
- The board approved an additional appropriate of $10,000 to the coroner office.