Senior Judges

In 1989, the legislature authorized the creation of the Senior Judge program allowing Indiana courts to use the services of retired or former judges to supplement existing judicial resources (IC 33-23-3-1). As envisioned, courts now use senior judges as a replacement in the absence of a regular judge, as a complement to the regular judge or to oversee the processing of certain types of cases or court programs.

The Indiana Supreme Court is responsible for promulgating rules to further define the certification and appointment process for senior judges (IC 33-24-3-7). In response to the continuing growth of the senior judge program, the Supreme Court promulgated Administrative Rule 5 in 2003, which delineated the parameters for the certification and use of senior judges.

Currently, Indiana has about 100 former judges certified as trial court senior judges. During 2017, senior judges served over 4,000 days in trial courts. Under Indiana’s weighted caseload analysis, this service is equivalent to that of 23 full time judges.