It is sometimes said that justice is blind.
In the city of Gary, it’s pretty much nonexistent.
There is no excuse for what can be called a pathetic situation.
There are 204,757 cases pending in Gary City Court. While it isn’t a secret, no one seems ready to step in and do anything about it.
The number of pending cases far exceeds the combined number of pending cases in all city and town courts in Lake County.
That large a caseload means a number of things — none of which is good.
For example, the city is missing out on thousands of dollars in fines it should be collecting. And the backlog is terribly unfair to those charged with a crime and their lawyers. And what about the police officers and code enforcement folks who initiated the cases?
Perhaps the biggest problem is that the city clerk’s office — which manages cases — doesn’t have the Courtview computerized case management system, meaning files have to be pulled for individual cases, if they were ever filed in the first place.
The office of city Clerk Suzette Raggs said it can’t afford Courtview. That’s not an acceptable excuse. It is up to Raggs, city Judge Deidre Monroe and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson to find the money for Courtview.
Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, who has deputies assigned to the city court, was kind when he said Monroe is “doing the best she can under the circumstances.”
With more than 200,000 pending cases, that obviously isn’t good enough.
So, what should be done?
The Indiana Supreme Court should give the city a fixed amount of time to correct the problem and prevent its recurrence.
If that doesn’t work, the high court should take over the Gary court and appoint a new judge.
And, if that doesn’t happen, the Indiana Bar Association ought to raise a stink.
Gary has enough problems. A crumbling justice system shouldn’t be one of them.