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Chief Justice Rush reflects on courts' progress in State of the Judiciary address

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush delivers her State of the Judiciary address in the Indiana House chamber while Governor Eric Holcomb, seated behind her, looks on. Rush is a White woman with brown hair, wearing glasses and black judicial robes. Holcomb is a White man with white and gray hair and beard, wearing a suit and tie.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush told lawmakers in her 2023 State of the Judiciary speech that state judges stand ready to help lawmakers as they work to expand mental health care access.

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush reflected Wednesday on the progress the state court system has made as she delivered the 2023 State of the Judiciary.

It was Rush's ninth such address and she harkened back to her first speech as chief justice as she praised the effectiveness of Indiana’s specialized, problem-solving courts – like veterans, mental health and drug courts. Since that time, such diversion courts have doubled.

Rush invited back a veterans court graduate that she honored at her first State of the Judiciary, Christopher Bunch, to underscore the programs’ impact.

“He’s married, with children. His family just bought their first house," Rush said. "He owns a construction company and he has been sober for nine years.”

READ MORE: Nearly 1,000 local, state and justice system leaders gather for first Mental Health Summit

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Rush also looked ahead, encouraging lawmakers in their work to address mental health in Indiana, particularly through use of the new, 988 crisis response hotline.

“Our judges – and there’s a lot of them up there today – are here to stand with you to take on this monumentous opportunity to improve mental health care,” Rush said.

Expanding mental health care access is a top legislative priority this session.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.