ILNews

Appellate docket offers more public access

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Docket entries for more than 200 juvenile-related cases are now publicly available online through the Indiana Appellate Clerk's Office.

Working to comply with a new administrative rule regarding public access to certain case records, the clerk's office has updated its online docket to allow public access to entries for juvenile, paternity, parental rights terminations, and adoption cases that are deemed confidential by state statute.

The Indiana Supreme Court amended Administrative Rule 9 governing public access to court records late last year, after a court committee studied the issue during 2008. Rule 9(G)(4)(a)(i) took effect in January, allowing the Appellate Clerk's Office to post the chronological case summaries for those types of cases online for public view, though names and any identifying information about parties remains unavailable.

Prior to the rule change, there was no publicly accessible record for some cases that the legal community knew existed - such as those that had gone through oral arguments and the webcast could be found online. Anyone searching by name or case number couldn't find any results on the docket, and non-parties couldn't call to get information as simple as whether an appeal existed, who the attorneys were, or what the status was.

Now, the docket entries exist for any case pending in 2008 or before - about 210 cases were entered on Saturday, according to Appellate Clerk Kevin Smith. In order to update the docket system to reflect this change, a Clerk's Office employee had to manually go through the database to distinguish between cases open or closed as of Jan. 1, 2009, and update those dockets accordingly to comply with the rule.

Appeals filed after Jan. 1, 2009, are automatically entered into the system with limited information, but the review included about 450 cases, Smith said.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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