VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – If passed, House Bill 1114 would allow Vigo County to add another court.

County officials believe that this would help ease the heavy backlog of cases.

Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt said that the county does not have enough courts to keep up with the thousands of backlogged cases. He referenced a study that suggested Vigo County add another court to keep up.

“I know that Vigo County was second on the list in the state as far as number of cases with the fewest number of judges,” Modesitt said.

Vigo County Chief Judge Chris Newton said that the juvenile area could benefit the most with the addition of another court. He said that it could be up to nine months before one could have a hearing.

“One of our charges is to dispense justice speedily,” Newton explained. “That’s been really hard for the juvenile court to do just because they’re overwhelmed with cases.”

As the bill makes its round at the statehouse, Newton said he’ll hope to learn more details about the bill. He said that he hopes this legislation allows for flexibility in what this new court could be.

“We would like for them to be able to have a little bit more flexibility to be able to handle things with the jail and initial probable cause hearings,” Newton stated.

Modesitt explained that it still could take some time to before the county reaches a manageable caseload even with a new court. He said that COVID-19 pandemic played a big role in the backlog.

“It’s going to take some time before we see some relief,” Modesitt said.

The bill has plenty of local support. Rep. Tonya Pfaff, Rep. Bruce Borders, Rep. Robert Heaton and Rep. Alan Morrison all Co-Authored the bill.