Livingston County is in the 43rd Judicial Circuit which consists of Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, Dekalb, and Livingston Counties. We have 3 Circuit Judges, being R. Brent Elliott serves as Presiding Circuit Judge and Thomas Chapman serves as the other 43rd Circuit Judge. We have 5 Associate Circuit Judges, being James P. Valbracht in Livingston County, Daren L. Adkins from Daviess County, Jason A. Kanoy from Caldwell County, J. Bart Spear Jr. from Dekalb County, and Paul T. Luckenbill Jr. from Clinton County.
In Livingston County we have the Associate Court room on the second floor of the Livingston County Courthouse and typically this is where traffic offense Court, arraignments, preliminary hearings, certain motions, small claims Court, protection order and ex-parte hearings, probate matters, Municipal Court, and minor civil claims are heard.
Circuit Court is normally held on the 3rd floor of the Livingston County Courthouse. It is the largest courtroom in the building. All jury trials take place on the 3rd floor. Most all felony cases, divorces, and larger civil suits are decided in Circuit Court. On rare occasion if a Grand Jury or Coroner's Inquest is called these normally take place in the Circuit Courtroom.
The sheriff’s office is required to provide Court Security frequently referred to as a “Bailiff”, which is either the sheriff or sworn deputy sheriff. Each officer attends specific training on maintaining Courtroom security and knows the specifics required of each judge for their respective law days or jury trials.
The Bailiff has the power of arrest for any criminal violation or per any Judge’s order. The Bailiff is there for the protection of the Judge and everyone else in the Courtroom. On jury trials and certain law days we often have multiple officer's in the Courtroom or Courthouse.
Local Court Rule mandates the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office operate the metal detector and enhance security on certain law and jury trial days at the Courthouse. People wishing to access the Courthouse are not permitted to carry any type of weapon including pocket knives, must agree to be checked for weapons and permit the inspection of any items or possessions. Cell phones are prohibited.
Proper attire is required to enter the Court. No shorts, shirts with graphic writing, hats or head covering is permitted. Recording devices and cameras are not permitted without prior approval from the Judge. Men shall have their shirts properly tucked in and be presentable. We are often required to ask people to wear proper attire or exclude them from the Courtroom.
Anyone who refuses to comply with the bailiff or deputy, rules, is disorderly or disrespectful in the Courtroom, may be held in contempt of Court by the Judge. A Contempt of Court detention may be up to 6 months in custody without a Court hearing. Fortunately very few people try to push the issue while Court is in session.
It is not unusual for our office to transport 20 or more detainees to Court in one day. We sometimes see 100 or more people in the Circuit Court for hearings. We do not permit visitation or contact with detainees in the Courtrooms. Understand you are welcome to approach our staff to ask a question, but their mandated priority is the safety of the Judge and the overall Courtroom while also guarding detainees.
Our deputies are there for your protection. Significant events have happened elsewhere during Court hearings and our goal is to see they do not happen here. Your cooperation is very much appreciated.
Deputy John Stafford works part time as Deputy/Bailiff duty and assists our office with the frequent Court security details.
We simply ask that everyone adhere to the rules and follow the instructions of our bailiffs, deputy, or Circuit Court Marshall.