SIDNEY — As the Sidney Municipal Court prepares for 2020, Judge Gary J. Carter is excited to take the bench as the newly elected Judge.
“Operations at the Court are running smoothly and Court staff has been very helpful while I refresh my knowledge about the various areas of law and learn the specifics regarding the way cases flow through Municipal Court. I would like to thank retired Judge Donald Luce for his mentorship as well as Executive Assistant Cathy Johnson and Clerk/Court Administrator Tony Kremer for their guidance as I begin my new role as Judge of Sidney Municipal Court” said Carter.
His report continuees:
The year 2019 was another busy year for the Sidney Municipal Court. The Court’s Justice Reinvestment and Incentive Grant (JRIG) and Community Corrections Act (CCA) grants were renewed for another two years, totaling $481,480 and $155,736 respectively over the two-year grant period. The court processed 8,582 cases and experienced several staff changes and additions.
The JRIG grant allowed the court to implement the Pretrial Release Program to identify defendants who are appropriate for pretrial release from jail on bond. The goal of the Program is to reduce or eliminate the time offenders spend in jail by changing their behaviors. In 2019, 305 inmates were eligible to be interviewed for the Pretrial Release Program. The court’s Pretrial Services Officer conducted 272 interviews while the remaining 33 inmates were not available for interview because they either declined the interview or had a medical condition preventing them from interviewing.
Of the 272 inmates interviewed, 75 of them were given an own-recognizance bond. It has been our goal to file fewer community control violations by offering more referrals to community partners for programming and also by offering programming in-house. With our new programs we were able to decrease community control violations from nearly 250 in prior years to 187 in 2019. In place of a community control violation, 203 people were placed in counseling and treatment programs such as alcohol and drug, anger management, and parenting classes. To assist in the community’s fight against the opioid epidemic, we referred 38 offenders to the Medically Assisted Treatment Program (MAT Program).
The court processed 5,370 traffic cases, 1,179 criminal cases, and 2,033 civil cases for a total of 8,582 cases in 2019. The Probation Department performed 698 drug tests, conducted 193 pre-sentence investigations, and initiated 753 new probation cases. The Bailiffs served 988 papers, transported 709 prisoners, and the court held video arraignment for 425 prisoners. During 2019, 162 individuals entered the court’s License Intervention Program. The Program had a 73 percent successful completion rate which resulted in 119 valid and properly insured drivers on the roads.
In 2019, the court collected $2,594,278 in receipts. In addition $7,520 was provided by offenders to the city and county through the court’s Alternative Service Program. This program allows those who qualify to account for their fines and costs even when they do not earn sufficient income to pay what they owe by performing community service to local organizations and non-profit agencies.
The court distributed $19,479 in restitution to victims of crime and distributed garnishment monies in the amount of $1,155,184 to various creditors.
Lastly, the court experienced several staff changes throughout 2019: three new employees were hired to fill vacant positions: Jamie Arnold as project manager, Cory Suchland as probation officer, and Patrick Reed as probation officer. Tony Kremer was sworn in as clerk/court administrator at the beginning of October when his predecessor Bonnie Gold retired. Former Judge Goettemoeller left office at the end of the 2019 and I began my term effective Jan. 1, 2020.
In closing, I would like to thank the voters of Shelby County for placing their trust in me. I look forward to administering justice and trying to change behaviors of offenders to make Shelby County a safe place to live and work.