Elkhart County did not initially make its caseload assignments available. In June 2016, the Elkhart County Public Defender Office provided to 6AC information about the number of cases assigned in each courtroom for the period of December 11, 2014 through December 11, 2015. Because the information provided does not allow for an apples-to-apples comparison with other counties’ caseloads during the 2014 calendar year, to estimate the caseloads of the individual attorneys, 6AC relied on publicly available data from the Indiana Judicial Service Report for 2014 for the numbers of cases assigned to pauper counsel for each court and case type. SUPREME COURT OF INDIANA, 2014 INDIANA JUDICIAL SERVICE REPORT Vol. 2 at 698-701 (2014).
The public defender’s office provided a list of its staff in 2015, indicating whether attorneys are full-time or part-time as well as each attorney’s court assignments.
To calculate estimates for each defender’s caseload, 6AC divided caseloads within each court by the number of defenders assigned to cover that court. Most courts are assigned two attorneys — where both attorneys assigned to a court are full-time, 6AC divided the cases equally between them; where one attorney is full-time and one part-time, 6AC allotted 2/3 of the cases to the full-time attorney and 1/3 to the part-time attorney.
Based on interviews and court observations, 6AC apportioned the juvenile delinquency and juvenile status cases equally between the two full-time attorneys assigned solely to the juvenile court.
For CHINS and TPR cases, 6AC estimated that the two full-time juvenile court attorneys are always assigned to the first parent in any case, then the seven attorneys who are additionally assigned to juvenile court represent additional parties in the same case as needed. As a result, 6AC apportioned 1/3 of the CHINS and TPR cases to each of the two lead juvenile attorneys and the remaining 1/3 shared equally amongst the other seven attorneys.
The chief public defender does carry a caseload, but because he is not assigned to a specific court there is no reasonable method of estimating the type and number of cases he carries. (See * in the table below.)
Note: based on the Judicial Service Report, 6AC is unable to distinguish among types of juvenile cases and is unable to distinguish among types of appeals.
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