April 11, 2014
Indianapolis Bar Association Issues Statement Regarding Proposed Criminal Justice Center
Jeff Abrams, Indianapolis Bar Association President
John Kautzman, Indianapolis Bar Association Justice Center Task Force Chair
Julie Armstrong, Indianapolis Bar Association, Executive Director
The Indianapolis Bar Association voted April 9 to give encouraging yet conditional support to the Mayor’s recent proposal to construct a new criminal justice center complex. The 29 member IndyBar Board of Directors applauded the efforts of the City to prioritize the creation of safe and adequate justice facilities. The IndyBar has been working for more than a decade to focus attention on the need to overhaul the existing judicial resources, noting safety concerns and other inadequacies. For years, the Association has spearheaded efforts to make a new justice center a reality, touting the long term benefits that would be realized by not only the people involved in the legal system but also the community as a whole.
The IndyBar’s Justice Center Task Force, chaired by John Kautzman and directed under the leadership of IndyBar President Jeff Abrams, was first established in 2002. The IndyBar also established a website specifically devoted to the topic at www.indyjusticecenter.org. Although the IndyBar’s governing body fully endorsed the concept of a new justice center, the Board qualified its support noting the fact that several plan details had yet to be finalized. The IndyBar favors a centrally located downtown site. The Mayor’s announced preferred location of the former GM Stamping Plant is a good option if other downtown sites are unworkable.
However, the Board also indicated that some of the other proposed locations that had originally been mentioned, including the former Indianapolis Airport property, would not be supported by the Association for a variety of reasons. The Board also suggested that any plan would need to include a comprehensive vision for the future of the civil courts. The Board stated it would need to review more detail concerning the overall project, including facility design and functionality, before it could unconditionally endorse the project in its entirety. The Indianapolis Bar Association looks forward to working with the Mayor’s Office, the Judiciary, the City-County Council and all other stakeholders in developing a first class judicial facility.
The Indianapolis Bar Association is a voluntary organization comprised of nearly 5,000 attorneys, judges, paralegals and law students. Founded in 1878, the Association’s mission is to serve its members, promote justice, and enhance the legal profession.