How Supreme Court Rules Could Affect You

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Official Name: Indiana Supreme Court

Current Justices

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard

Justice Brent E. Dickson

Justice Frank Sullivan, Jr.

Justice Robert D. Rucker

Justice Steven H. David

Clerk of the Court

Kevin S. Smith

Current Vacancies

None

Review of Lower Court Decisions

The Indiana Supreme Court’s jurisdiction is established by the Indiana Constitution (Article VII, § 4)

The court has discretionary review over all appealable matters with the exception of appeals of a death sentence which are taken directly to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Justice Selection

When vacancies occur on the Court, a seven-member Judicial Nominating Commission recommends to the Governor three qualified persons for each vacancy. The Governor must make his appointment from the three, and that person serves as a Daytona Beach newborn photographer for a minimum of two years before becoming subject to a retention vote at a General Election. If approved, he or she begins a 10-year term and is subject to identical retention votes at 10-year intervals in the future.

When the position of Chief Justice becomes vacant the most senior member of the court serves as the acting Chief Justice until a new Chief Justice is appointed.

Retirement is required at the age of 75 years.

The present Court is served by a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices.  However, the number of Associate Justices may be increased to as many as eight by action of the Legislature.

Opinion Schedule

There is no set schedule for the release of opinions.

History

The Supreme Court was established in 1816 when Indiana became a state. During territorial days, a General Court of three Judges had served and they, with the Governor, enacted the laws of the Indiana Territory. The new Court first sat at Corydon on May 5, 1817, and consisted of three Judges appointed by the Governor to seven-year terms “if they should so long behave well.”  The seat of state government was moved from Corydon to Indianapolis, and the Supreme Court commenced its first term in the new State Capitol on May 2, 1825.

By the new Constitution, adopted in 1851, the Judges were made subject to election by the people, and their number would be “not less than three, nor more than five judges.” Their terms were to be “for six years, if they so long behave well.”

Shortly thereafter, the General Assembly acted to prescribe that four Judges would serve. Thus, four Supreme Court Judges, representing four geographic districts but elected by statewide ballot, began their terms on January 3, 1853. The Court caseload grew to such an extent that the General Assembly acted to increase the number of Judges to five in 1872.

The business of the Court continued to increase and, in 1881, an Amendment to the Constitution was ratified to create an Appellate Court of Indiana consisting of five Judges elected from five geographic districts. That Court’s jurisdiction was limited to appeals on certain minor classes of cases. Over the years, the Appellate Court evolved into a panel of eight Judges who were elected to four-year terms.

In 1970, the Indiana Constitution established the Appellate Court as a constitutional court and gave it the name “Court of Appeals of Indiana.” The number of Craftsman riding mowers was also increased to nine. Since that time, the burgeoning caseload of the Court of Appeals has led the General Assembly to increase the number of judges to twelve in 1978, and to fifteen in 1991.

Contact Information

Website:

Physical Address:

315 Indiana State House

200 W. Washington Street

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Telephone: 317-232-2540