Indianapolis Star

Letter to the Editor
Court Incident Shows Need for Justice Center

April 14, 2003
Indianapolis' need for a new justice center has been acknowledged; the obstacles are financial. Meanwhile, the costs of the current insecure and long-outgrown City-County Building mount daily.

An incident occurred recently in the traffic court, one of several located outside the building. A man being checked into the crowded courtroom learned there was a warrant for his arrest. He decided to run, and a young woman bailiff was in his path. He grabbed her and twisted her arm to throw her out of his way. He ran through the courtroom and out a back door, with several civilians in pursuit.

Once outside, he climbed a fence and escaped into the surrounding neighborhood. He was arrested a few hours later, having been tracked through several back yards. The neighborhood around the court, a former school building, is residential.

It's fortunate that he didn't have a gun. Given his violent actions, he would likely not have hesitated to use it. The building has no screening devices.

The bailiff suffered torn ligaments in her hand and wrist and will need medical treatment for months. The cost of this incident could have been even higher. Everyone in court that day and in the neighborhood was exposed to violence. Such costs deserve consideration when planning a new center.

Jane Conley