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Greene County's First Magistrate Judge Sworn In
Updated July 20, 2015 11:04 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(BLOOMFIELD) - Judge Lucas Rudisill was introduced by Greene Circuit Court Judge Erik "Chip" Allen and Greene Superior Court Judge Dena Martin to a standing-room-only crowd gathered to witness the historic moment for the county's court system.

The Greene County Daily World reports, the addition of a magistrate court promises to relieve the growing caseload burdening both existing Greene County courts.

Judge Allen said the bottom line is getting cases through the court system faster and getting disputes resolved in a timely manner.

Both expressed their appreciation to State Representative Matt Ubelhor for helping make the magistrate court a reality. Allen said Ubelhor was instrumental in carrying the request through the legislative process. A new magistrate court can only be established by state legislative action.

Greene County's new magistrate court has been a long time in the making, and has required a lot of time and energy on the part of Judges Allen and Martin as well as many other county officials and members of the bar.

Earlier this year, seven Indiana counties were given approval to appoint new magistrate judges to serve their local courts and the legislation was signed by the governor on May 5. The new law, which went into effect on July 1, also expanded the abilities of a magistrate judge, allowing them to approve criminal plea agreements, approve settlements in civil matters, and approve dissolutions and other agreements in domestic relations and paternity actions.

A magistrate must be admitted to practice law in Indiana but may not engage in the practice of law while holding the office of magistrate. Under Indiana law, a magistrate may perform a number of duties including: administer oaths, solemnize marriages, take and certify affidavits and depositions, order subpoenas, issue warrants, set bail, enforce court rules, conduct various hearings and trials, enter orders, conduct sentencing hearings and impose sentences, and issue judgments in small claims cases and issue protective orders to prevent domestic or family violence.

Unlike the county's two current judge positions, the new magistrate is an appointed position, selected by the Greene and Superior Court judges who will oversee the activities of the magistrate.

Judge Allen says Rudisill had done a very good job in his practice of both criminal and civil law in Greene County and he was "an outstanding candidate" for the position.

Judges Allen and Martin say to start, the caseload in the magistrate court will consist of small claims cases and child support cases. Other cases that will be added to the magistrate's docket in the future will be determined by the Circuit and Superior Court judges.

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