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Vigo County criminal justice system expands services in 2021 | Indiana News

The felony justice process in Vigo County knowledgeable its share of stresses and development in the course of 2021 as courts navigated the COVID-19 pandemic though changing to fill company gaps in the technique.

In addition to the attempts to dig out of the felony scenario backlog created owing to COVID closures and delays, the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Business office applied 2021 to grow services.

In Might, the business office formally started its partnership with Indiana Condition University with the institution of a Large Tech Crime Device, or HTCU, to help area legislation enforcement with processing electronic proof.

Vigo County criminal justice system expands services in 2021

Tribune-Star file/Joseph C. GarzaTechnology at get the job done: Choose Michael Lewis of Vigo Excellent Courtroom 6 describes how he utilizes livestreaming technology all through courtroom proceedings July 8 in the Vigo County Courthouse. Guiding him is Joe LaBree, information technological innovation supervisor for the county courts.

4 pupil investigators and two college sponsors have been sworn in as specific investigators for the Vigo County Prosecutor and began assisting with buying and examining electronic proof. Early endeavours involved establishing evidence and accessing digital information in a murder scenario.

The Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council was presented funding by the point out legislature to establish 10 HTCUs throughout Indiana.

Next a five-thirty day period aggressive application process, Vigo County was picked to be one particular of the 10 host counties. The prosecutor’s place of work was awarded a grant of $285,000 to build and operate the Vigo County HTCU serving Vigo, Clay, Fountain, Hendricks, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan and Vermillion counties.

“Digital evidence is an space that is constantly rising, which include cell cellphone communications and place knowledge, pc forensics and surveillance recordings. This evidence not only strengthens investigations, but it has also been utilized to exclude suspects during investigations,” Prosecutor Terry Modesitt reported. “This application presents our university student investigators instruction, certifications and serious existence knowledge, although assisting law enforcement in accessing and preserving crucial proof.”

In comply with by with discussions initiated in 2020, the prosecutor’s office environment ongoing working to build a Juvenile Drug Court plan.

Drug Court docket is an intense program supplying companies to individuals with a material use disorder analysis. The purpose for Juvenile Drug Courtroom is to deliver choices other than an adjudication and sentence to non-violent, compound dependent little ones to minimize material abuse and legal recidivism. Obtaining laid the groundwork all through 2021, this system has been accredited for funding by the Vigo County Council and will be start off providing expert services in 2022.

Yet another new development in 2021 came when the Indiana Supreme Court allowed for are living video clip streaming of jury trials.

The entire court docket method had to be tailored to fulfill COVID basic safety protocols, and jury trials ended up the spot that necessary the most adaptation.

From jury choice in big venues allowing for for social distancing, to the reliance on new technology to current proof to the jury, to making positive all of the electronics had been operating to allow for for the general public to still have obtain to general public hearings, quite a few ease and comfort zones were expanded.

“Jury trials need a lot of vitality and preparation beneath the best of conditions to show a man or woman guilty outside of a affordable question. But we achieved the challenges and variations that COVID brought about and were extremely productive in our jury trials and in resolving several important instances,” Modesitt stated.

The prosecutor stated he is very pleased of the work of our deputy prosecutors, legal secretaries, boy or girl aid caseworkers and other assist team. Like most organizations, the office was required to adapt to the variations COVID needed.

“We have seamlessly transitioned concerning getting able to do the job from residence when the courthouse was closed to working in the office when situations permitted,” Modesitt mentioned. “Our staff ongoing to supply a large level of provider to regulation enforcement, the courts, the neighborhood and to individuals that have been victims of criminal offense during this challenging calendar year.”

Chief Decide Michael Lewis of Vigo Outstanding Courtroom 6 said the jury demo predicament and the safeguards taken to guard jurors all through the pandemic had been key initiatives for the court program.

The institution of a dual analysis/do the job launch system through Vigo County Community Corrections also improved the justice system landscape regionally.

The romantic relationship amongst substance abuse, mental ailment and incarceration has been well-acknowledged to people who get the job done working day to working day in the prison justice technique.

The dual diagnosis program assists individuals inmates with the dual analysis of psychological illness and compound use to remain out of jail and go ahead into a stable and wholesome potential.

Set up by means of the do the job launch plan at Vigo County Local community Corrections, the therapeutic plan accepts capable individuals coming out of the Vigo County Jail.

The members receive psychological overall health remedy and ideal counseling though residing in the get the job done release center. Social workers enable the folks get enrolled in neighborhood treatment method businesses such as Hamilton Middle and Wabash Valley Health and fitness Center, apply for housing, and comply with by way of on court docket-ordered instructions.

“This application is filling the hole involving us and our neighborhood associates,” claimed Bill Watson, director of court docket solutions for Vigo County. “Often points turn out to be too much to handle for these individuals as they try to do the lots of points the courtroom desires them to do, these types of as enroll in counseling and drug cure and probation. So we have social personnel who can help them stroll as a result of the process.”

The plan also can help reduce overcrowding in the county jail by going persons into the local community corrections software for pre-trial expert services.

Lisa Trigg can be arrived at at 812-231-4254 or at [email protected]. Observe her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.