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

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 or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.