Thanks to legislation that became effective July 1, lawyers can be appointed to serve as Judge Pro Tempore, even if the sitting, elected Judge is present in court that day.
In Marion and other counties with a large workforce of Magistrates and Commissioners, there has never been a provision for appointing a lawyer to fill in for them if they have to be away from court. Previously, when an elected Judge appointed a lawyer as a Judge Pro Tempore, the elected judge lost all of his or her powers for that day. Therefore, Pro Tem judges were generally only used to cover the dockets of elected Judges.
Now, thanks to I.C. 33-38-15.2, an elected Judge can appoint a Judge Pro Tempore to cover for a Magistrate or Commissioner, meaning those dockets can be covered during the vacations, judicial conferences or personal emergencies of ANY judicial officer. Not all courts will utilize this new rule, but some have already taken advantage of the assistance.
That’s where you come in: if interested in serving as a Judge Pro Tem, please contact your favorite judicial officers or their staffs (or me, at the email address below). Your service could include presiding over hearings or approving orders to keep files moving through the system. Some of us prefer to appoint newer lawyers as they seem to learn the most from the experience, but there are plenty of opportunities for all to serve.
Magistrate Kimberly Dean Mattingly
Marion Superior Court, Civil Division
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