Under Judge Dowling's leadership, several projects have been addressed.


Odyssey Software
Delaware County previously used court software for case tracking that cost the county $40,000 annually in maintenance fees alone, and has fallen way behind in updating its computer hardware and software. The five judges in Delaware County agreed that updating was essential. Odyssey is software provided by the State of Indiana for free, through its Court Technology Project, to each Indiana County, with no cost for maintenance. As the then-Presiding Judge, Judge Dowling led Delaware County in transitioning to Odyssey. In doing so, Judge Dowling successfully negotiated with the State for new computer hardware for our courts, obtaining a grant for approximately $92,000.00 for new computers, scanners, and printers for Delaware County’s courts.

Self-Represented Litigants
Statistics from the Indiana Bar Foundation show that approximately 60% of Indiana civil litigants are self-represented. Some are so by choice, but most are unable to afford the services of any attorney. Judge Dowling is the judicial appointment to the board of District F Pro Bono council and leads that board in providing pro bono (free) services to residents of Delaware County. In addition, Judge Dowling was appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court to its new Coalition for Court Access, where she chairs the Best Practices committee that is charged with providing forms for self-represented litigants. Judge Dowling has also led Delaware County to form a Self-Help Center in the courthouse and applied for and received grant monies to purchase computers and a printer, open the Center in the courthouse, and provide facilitator attorneys to assist litigants in filling out the forms for filing at the Clerk's office.

Visit by the Indiana Supreme Court
Twice a year the Indiana Supreme Court goes "on the road" to hold an oral argument in a county away from the State House in Indianapolis. The Supreme Court likes to visit other counties to give Hoosier students the experience of a day at the Supreme Court. In October 2016, Judge Dowling spearheaded the Indiana Supreme Court holding an oral argument at Emens Auditorium on Ball State's campus. Approximately 1,000 attended, mostly high school students, but also BSU political science students, local office holders, and the Muncie Bar Association. Briefs on the case were supplied to the teachers of the high school students weeks in advance. Members of the Bar Association volunteered their time to travel to those schools and help the teachers teach about the case and the procedures they would see. After the argument, the Justices joined the Bar Association at the student center for lunch. Local students had an experience that day that they would not normally have. As a result of her efforts, the Indiana Supreme Court presented Judge Dowling with a "challenge coin," an award developed by the Court to honor judges and others associated with the courts who have gone above and beyond their normal duties.

Efficient Exercise of Court Duties
When Judge Dowling was elected to the bench in 2012, Delaware Circuit Court 2 had 3,008 pending cases. Pending cases have been filed with the Court, but not decided. This number of pending cases was excessive compared to the other Delaware county courts. Many of these cases were very old, and parties had not taken any action on the cases in years. In addition to the sheer volume of cases, there were also 55 cases that had been left under advisement by her predecessor. Cases under advisement have been heard, evidence has been taken, but no decision has been made. Judge Dowling and her staff worked diligently to dispose of these cases. Judge Dowling worked with the Indiana Judicial Center to address the cases that had been taken under advisement, and was able to dispose of those 55 cases within 3 months of taking office. She and her staff worked throughout 2013 to dispose of all of the old, pending cases, and by the end of 2013 Judge Dowling and her staff had reduced the number of pending cases from 3,008 to 1,018—a reduction of over 66%. Judge Dowling and her staff have maintained that efficiency since 2013, and at the end of 2016 had 1,161 pending cases.
 
 

Paid for by The Friends of Kim Dowling
Shawn Hicks, Treasurer