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UPDATE: ‘Nobody is mad at anybody.’ County judge comments on suit filed against city of Batesville

Independence County and the city of Batesville have disagreed in the last few years over several operational practices and one of them has spilled over into Independence County Circuit Court.

Independence County is asking the court to take a look at state statutes and determine who should fund the district court and to what extent. 

The complaint, filed by Independence County, says the city hasn’t paid its share of the operation of the court since January 2017. The county is asking the court to determine the obligations of funding for the district court and to determine that Independence County does not solely operate the district court of Independence County.

“Nobody is mad at anybody,” Independence County Judge Robert Griffin told White River Now this afternoon. “Our lawyers get together, and they can’t agree on what the statutes say that govern the establishment and operation of the district court. The quorum court and city council could get together, but how can we correctly interpret the law when our lawyers can’t? So let the court decide.

“If the court decides the county is required, by itself, to operate and fund the district court and receive the fines, that’s fine. That is exactly what we are doing now. If the court decides the law requires the city to assist in the funding of the district court, then that’s what the city should do.”

County Attorney Daniel Haney explained that the suit is a declaratory judgment meant “simply to answer a question.”

The county was able to file the suit under the quorum court’s vote back in September allowing Haney to do what was needed to determine the city’s obligation to district court and jail.

Madeline Pyle contributed to this story.

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