By Greg Coy,
Judge of Switzerland County Circuit Court
As Judge of the Switzerland Circuit Court, I would like to
submit to the citizens of Switzerland County the following
report on the activities of the Circuit Court in 2014, the fifth
full year of the Court.
In 2014, the Court was once again able to return money to
the County general fund out of our original budget.
The year ended with the Court about $50,000 under budget.
There are a number of reasons why we were able to be so far
under the original amount appropriated to us by the County
– There were far fewer criminal cases filed this year and
no jury trials, which means that the number of attorneys
appointed to represent people charged with crimes was down
– There were no expenses paid for jury trials.
A single jury trial can be expensive when one takes into
account the amount paid for the attorney for the defendant, the
cost to pay jurors for each day they serve, the costs for meals
and mileage, and also the costs for an appeal if one gets filed.
A single trial can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000.
Since I don’t know at the beginning of the year how many
trials, if any, we are going to have, I have to appropriate
money to pay for them anyway. Therefore the low number of
criminal cases and lack of jury trials was the primary reason
we were under budget.
As I have stated in these reports in years prior, the most
important thing for the citizens of Switzerland County is that
having their own court does not cost more than when we
shared courts with Ohio and Jefferson counties. The cost to
the taxpayers continues to be less.
In 2014, there were approximately the same number of new
cases filed as in 2013.
About 1,200 new cases of all types were filed; nearly 1,400
were decided or otherwise disposed of, meaning a case either
had a judgment entered, was dismissed or otherwise concluded.
By contrast, in 2009, the total number of cases disposed
was 2,795; in 2010, the number was down to 2,206, in 2011
the total was down to 1,659, in 2012 the number was approximately
1,800, and in 2013 the number had been approximately
2014 was an election year and beginning in 2015, I will
again be working with a new Sheriff (who is actually an old
Sheriff). Nathan Hughes will be resuming office again; I
worked with Sheriff Hughes when he held office previously,
and I believe he and I had an excellent working relationship,
and will continue to do so when he resumes office.
I do wish to thank Sheriff Roy Leap for his efforts over the
prior four years; he and his staff have always answered the call
and any needs of the Court when I have called, and I certainly
wish him well in his future endeavors.
I also will be working with a new Clerk. Gayle Sullivan will
be assuming that office on January 1st, and I will do anything
that I can to assist her in her duties and responsibilities. I also
wish to thank Kim Hambrick for her support as Clerk over the
last four years; she and her staff are always a pleasure to work
with and, like the Sheriff’s Department, are always supportive
of me whenever I need their help.
PUBLIC DEFENDER FEES
In 2014, the cost of paying for court-appointed lawyers
decreased again due primarily to a decrease in the total number
of criminal cases filed.
One change that occurred in 2014 was the receipt of additional
funds from the State of Indiana as reimbursement for
cases where lawyers were appointed to represent parties in
cases involving the Switzerland County Division of Children
and Families. We received over $15,000 in 2013 as a result of
this change. This year we received over $40,000 as reimbursement
from the State for Public Defender fees only – which is
nearly one-third of all fees we paid out.
Our guardian ad litem program (GAL) continues to serve
local children involved in difficult cases including custody
and visitation cases. Our program director, Carol Ann Sublett,
recently received an award for her work on behalf of children;
our program is unique in the Southeastern Indiana area and
other local court are attempting to learn from our successes to
set up a similar program in our neighboring counties.
In 2014 the Court continued to put more criminal defendants
on “reporting” probation, which means that a convicted
person has to report to the probation officer at least once per
This also requires defendants to submit to unannounced
visits and drug screens; failure to pass a drug screen results in
immediate incarceration of that defendant for failing to abide
by the terms of their probation.
We are finding that more and more criminal defendants are
submitting “clean” screens, meaning they are drug free, to
avoid the possibility of jail time.
We continue to devote a great deal of court time to child
support cases filed by the prosecutor’s office.
Although our collection efforts are resulting in a higher percentage
of support collection than most other counties in the
state, we still are dealing with some parents who are failing to
pay as ordered.
In many of those cases we have continued to order nonpaying
parents the option of either paying their support every
week or going to jail every weekend, and as before the child
support payments continue to roll in from those people.
I have now completed my first six-year term as your judge
and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity I have
had to serve. I do believe I have improved as a judge but I
am certain that I have more that I can do to better serve the
I look forward to serving in my next six year term which
begins January 1st, 2015. As always, I greatly appreciate
the opportunity to serve Switzerland County citizens as your
judge. I promise that my staff and I will continue to work to
improve the Court and the way it serves our County.
Although I am not allowed to comment on any pending
cases, if there are any questions, comments or general concerns,
please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.