By Keith L. Hancock, Hollingsworth & Zivitz PC
For our second installment of "Getting to Know Your Judicial Officers," we interviewed Judge Steven Eichholtz. Judge Eichholtz is new to Marion County Superior Court 8 (Probate Division) after transferring from Marion Superior Court-Major Felony Drug Court. Judge Eichholtz was appointed to the bench in 1991, where he served as judge of the Marion County Municipal Court for four years. In 1996 he moved to Civil Court and served there for several more years before stepping down to work in private practice and government relations.
During his hiatus from the bench, Judge Eichholtz represented former Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson and served as counsel to the Indiana Senate Democrats. In 2010 he returned to serve as both the Supervising Judge of Marion County Probation from 2010-2012 and the Presiding Judge in Major Felony Drug Court from 2010-2014. Judge Eichholtz was gracious enough to sit down with me last week and answer a few questions about his position in his current court. His responses are included below. Enjoy!
Q: Judge, going forward, will any of the staff in Probate Court be the same?
Most of the staff is new to probate court; however they have been with the courts and also with me for many years. Magistrate Turner and Commissioner Batties are still with Probate Court
Q: What do you look forward to most about the change to this court?
A: I've served as judge in Civil Court before, but being in this court gives me the opportunity to use a lot of technology. I'm a systems person and I really enjoy that. In fact, I'm doing an operational study right now.
Q:Anything that you want practitioners to know about how you run your court?
A: Sure. Beginning March 1, 2015, all cases and motions must be filed first before being presented to a judicial officer for a ruling.
Probate court still is open for "walk-ins” to open estates and guardianships and for a judicial officer to review requests for emergency relief after they are filed. I would prefer that other motions be filed and left for a ruling. It really causes a time management issue for the judicial officers when they are constantly asked to look over non-emergency matters.
I also believe in that old adage "justice delayed..." Just to give you some background, the first jury I sat on as a civil judge involved battery on a child at a school when he was eight years old. At the trial, the child was called to testify and he was 18 years old! I couldn't believe it! I looked through the history of the case and it had been continued and continued. There are a number of published trial court disposition standards and 10 years exceeds them all.
Q: How, if at all, do you think that your experience as a solo/small firm private practice attorney has helped prepare you for your position? How do you think that experience tempers how you approach your cases and running your court?
A: I was a GREAT attorney and I have VERY high expectations for attorneys that practice in my court! (*Slams fist on desk*) Haha - just kidding. Seriously, I practiced on my own and at a firm for many years. I know what it takes and what it's like to be in the attorney's shoes. I try and consider that in everything I do.
Q: What was the last book you read?
A: Baldacci's Zero Day. Something to do on vacation.
Q: Last movie? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
A: Big Hero 6. It's an animated movie I watched with my grandson. Two thumbs up.
Q: On a Saturday afternoon you would likely be found ___________?
A: Out by my pool in my backyard, grilling out with family and friends.
This post was written by Keith L. Hancock of Hollingsworth & Zivitz PC. If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Solo/Small Firm Practice Section page, please email Rachel Beachy at firstname.lastname@example.org.