Commentary on Marion County’s New Courthouse

The new courthouse off Southeastern Ave is a disaster on multiple levels. To begin with, the toxic level of this property was so intense that building residential homes was forbidden. Yet judges, court staff, police officers, lawyers, inmates and their families now have to pretend that their health will never be affected.

CJC Site
Aerial view of the CJC Site + Parking Lot
(looking North)
Photo: Shiel Sexton (December 2021)

Secondly, the drive from downtown Indy makes no sense. Not only is there no bus service for the public but the prosecutor’s office has elected to drive back and forth daily from their office near the city-county building.

Third, abandoning the city-county building was a profound mistake that our mayor is ignoring. The millions spent repaving Market and Delaware Streets have been wasted after the city-county building was emptied. In addition, look how the City Market has become a wasteland.

Fourth, whoever designed this courthouse should be held accountable for their many flagrant mistakes. Not only does the building have but one entrance but there is no parking garage. The general public, which includes lawyers, have to park in a massive, uncovered parking lot. The walk takes several minutes and most of us will be soaking wet when winter arrives.

Fifth, if you are there all day there are no places to eat on the property. Several of us have contemplated retiring and operating food trucks, which would quickly become quite popular.

Sixth, the location of each court changes daily. On top of that, it is an insult that lawyers are denied access to the court offices to seek very valuable information. Everyone is left in the dark until the judge takes the bench.

While there are other glaring problems, let me close with one disturbing concern. With the majority of defendants and witnesses being African Americans, they have now been shipped to the lower east side of Indianapolis. Downtown Indy has now become an increasingly white conclave.

This was no accident, and our city government should be ashamed. The bottom line is that the courthouse move conveniently ignores racial prejudices. Like it or not, this has become our city government’s legacy.