Headley seeks new term as Putnam Circuit Court judge

Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Matthew Headley

I am truly grateful to serve as the Circuit Court Judge. The judicial system, both locally and statewide, has accomplished several projects and continues to try to find ways to increase its efficiency. Locally, at the juvenile level, the court works with the schools, juvenile probation, prosecutor’s office and service providers to attempt to secure a better future for the juvenile offenders, while addressing victims’ requests. In the adult criminal cases, we are now required to comply with Criminal Rule 26, created by the Indiana Supreme Court. Trial courts are now to release most defendants charged with crimes on much lower bonds than previously and provide services/monitoring to these people based on risks and not solely on their pocketbook.

If re-elected, one of the areas that I really want to focus on is mental health. That topic has come to the forefront (nationally/statewide/locally) over the last few years. It has thankfully lost the stigma that it used to have. The Putnam County Mental Health Association and other service provider agencies do a wonderful job with their limited resources but more needs to be done. A new statewide program, JRAC, is launching in all the counties and is supposed to allow the local stakeholders to focus on specific areas of concern. I recently had a conversation with one of our Supreme Court Justices and was encouraged with what is planned for this population. It doesn’t just affect one person, but a whole network – family, friends, law enforcement, the community. I can’t tell you the number of times that police officers, emergency room professionals, family members, etc. tell me that there just has to be a better way to deal/treat this issue.

Substance abuse continues to be a significant challenge. It isn’t just criminal cases – families are significantly negatively affected, too. Faith based programs, like Celebrate Recovery, as well as private providers try to address this issue. There isn’t an easy fix to addiction but we continue to provide the best tools we know of to give the opportunity for people to get out of that lifestyle and penal consequences if they don’t. Substance abuse and mental heath are more likely to be connected than separate concerns.

The court system was affected by COVID, just as everyone else. Video capabilities are now in the courtrooms. Being able to ‘zoom in” attorneys, witnesses, defendants in other jails/prisons has greatly accelerated the ability to bring a case to closure. The Supreme Court implemented a statewide case management system – Odyssey – and now we have an electronic, paperless case management system.

We have needs, just as any community, but I believe that there is a real community pride that makes this a special place to live. I hope, in some small way, I have contributed to that.

I can’t thank my wife, Karen, enough, for helping me look at an issue through a different lens at times, as well as family and friends. I would be honored to continue to serve as your Circuit Court Judge.