ILNews

Court amends public accessibility, other rules

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The Indiana Supreme Court has revised its administrative and appellate rules governing how trial courts make records publicly accessible and how appeals are handled in certain cases requiring confidentiality.

Orders dated Oct. 6 dictate access to court records and says trial courts may manage access to audio and video recordings of its proceedings to the extent that may be deemed appropriate and not interfering with court operations. Justices reached a decision on the issue late last week during a weekly conference.

When a trial judge seals a portion or entire case, that decision carries over to the appellate courts unless the appellate court decides otherwise.

At the appellate level, the clerk is required in certain confidentially bound cases - such as juvenile, paternity, and termination of parental right cases - to make the appellate chronological case summary publicly accessible but is able to change the party names "in a matter reasonably calculated to provide anonymity and privacy."

That confidentially extends to appellate arguments and hearings, where attorneys will refer to the case and parties as identified on the record and not be able to disclose anything excluded from public access.

In studying this issue during the past year, the Indiana Supreme Court's Records Management Committee had originally discussed the possibility of creating a second docket that would be publicly accessible in order to shield the parties, as well as the attorneys involved in the case. That is not happening, according to the court order and the committee's chair, Justice Brent Dickson.

"This doesn't attempt to create a formula," Justice Dickson said. "It's basically an operational call by the clerk, and the clerk is to come up with what they find appropriate for designations to meet the rule and comply with statutory obligations."

In the order, the court also amended its rule regarding court record security and added commentary that includes examples of what judges can do to ensure recordings aren't altered.

"The court is required to preserve the integrity of audio and video recordings of court proceedings," the rule states, adding that options include supervised playback for listening or copying, creating a copy of the record for use during playback, and notifying the involved parties about the accessed record.

Rule revisions take effect Jan. 1, 2009. Both the appellate rule order and the administrative rules order can be found listed on the state judiciary's website.

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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