The Monroe Circuit Court is one of only two unified courts within the State of Indiana. Delaware County is the second.
The Monroe Circuit Court is a unified court comprised of nine Divisions and one Commissioner. All Divisions have equal jurisdiction and the ability to hear civil or criminal matters. As a unified court, the Office of Court Administration coordinates jury management, automation, statistics, system analysis, court security, fiscal management, case flow management, and public service for the Monroe Circuit Court, Divisions I-IX.
The Court has been unified for the purpose of administration and budgets since 1977; however, in 1990, legislation was passed which allowed for the amalgamation of the Circuit Court and the five Superior Courts of that time, eliminating all distinctions and separation between the courts. In 1991, Monroe County became the first county in the State of Indiana to have one Circuit Court with multiple Divisions and Judges, comprised of six divisions at that time.
In 1995, a new Court: Circuit Court VII was created with a specialization in juvenile matters. Judge Steven R. Galvin now presides in Circuit Court VII which continues to focus on juvenile issues.
2004 brought about a new position within the Court. A Judicial Commissioner position was created to address a burgeoning Non Support and Paternity caseload. The State Child Support Bureau had initiated a program encouraging Prosecutor’s pursuit of non support cases. The program, termed Title IV D Court Cooperative Agreement, provides that the salary paid to the commissioner as well as the salaries of other necessary administrative and support personnel to the commissioner including a bailiff, court reporter and probation officer(s), are reimbursable by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement at sixty-six (66%) percent specific to their time actually spent on the processing of Title IV-D cases.
On Friday, July 9, 2004, Judge Marc R. Kellams swore in the first–ever court commissioner for the Monroe Circuit Court. Monroe Circuit Court has had juvenile referees and court magistrates in prior years but never before a Court Commissioner.
The first appointment to this position was/is Commissioner Bret Raper. Commissioner Raper presides over Title IV-D cases consisting mostly of non-support felony, non-support divorces and paternity as well as other cases assigned by the Board of Judges.
In 2005 the Court restructured in an effort to increase efficiency by creating separate civil and criminal caseloads. This move increased the courts ability to respond effectively and efficiently to the needs of our citizenry.
Again, In 2006 due to increased judicial caseloads and demands an eighth seat was created and in 2008 a ninth seat was created, bringing the Monroe Circuit Court to its current size.
In 2009, the Board of Judges recognizing a need to address the problem of chronic truancy in the community, created a new Truancy Court. The new Truancy Court is a cooperative effort between the Board of Judges, Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal, both Monroe County schools, and the Monroe County Probation Department. The Truancy Court is run by Judge Galvin in Circuit Court VII.
The Monroe Circuit Court continues to seek enhanced services and new and innovative ways to provide the citizens of Monroe County with the quality of justice they deserve and have come to expect.