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Comment time extended on state court rules

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The Hoosier legal community has more time to offer comment on a multitude of state court rules that are being examined for potential revision.

Two sets of proposed rule changes have had their public comment periods extended through May 6, and the Indiana Supreme Court’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure will consider those submissions on an array of issues that include pro hac vice admissions and many other appellate, trial procedure, post-conviction, family court, and evidentiary rules.

The initial deadline of May 1 is now extended for feedback on how the courts handle temporary admission of out-of-state attorneys before administrative agencies. The committee is considering three options for how those lawyers can be admitted to practice in Indiana: allow the agency itself to approve the out-of-state attorney’s temporary admission, give that power to the trial court where the agency is meeting, or make the Supreme Court the only decision maker on that admission.

On a second set of rule revisions, the committee has re-opened the public comment period that had a March 25 deadline to garner more feedback on several proposed changes. Provisions that would set out requirements for telephone and audiovisual hearings to ensure attorney-client privilege and change how judges or clerks are removed from a case if they don’t rule in a timely manner are among those being considered for revision. Changes also attempt to bring statewide coordination to family court rules that have been implemented gradually during the past decade as individual counties have signed on to the state’s pilot project.

Specifically, the proposed rule amendments are:

Indiana Administrative Rule 14: Changes set out requirements for conducting hearings by telephone and audiovisual telecommunications, in part focusing on ensuring the confidentiality of attorney-client communications. Revisions to Administrative Rule 9 would conform those rules to the proposed changes to the appellate rules.

Appellate Rules 2, 9, 10, 11, 14, 14.1, 15, 16, 23, 24, 30, 46, 62, and 63; and Forms 9-1, 9-2, 14.1, 15-1, 16-1, and 16-2: Changes would abolish the Appellant’s Case Summary and change the filing of the Notice of Appeal from the trial court clerk to the clerk of the Indiana appellate courts. The specific contents of the Notice of Appeal are spelled out in the amendments, and they also seek to clarify the service of documents and running of time limits in appeals.

Rules of Trial Procedure 3.1, 53.1, and 59: Changes deal with procedures for withdrawal of representation and temporary or limited representation, and 53.1 concerns procedures for removing a case from a judge who has not acted or ruled in a timely manner as provided in the rule. It also suggests removing the local court clerk from the process.

Post-conviction Relief Rules PC1 and PC2: Modifications would clarify the proper venue for filing PCR petitions and would conform the rules to the changes being proposed in the appellate rules.

Rules of Evidence 501, 502, and 803: Revisions would include new language covering situations involving the inadvertent disclosure of privileged information and clarification of the hearsay exception related to statements made by individuals seeking medical diagnosis or treatment.

Rules for Family Proceedings: Changes are part of an attempt by the court to bring the rules governing the Supreme Court’s Family Court Project to the rest of the state. The rules would follow the pilot that has been implemented in more than two dozen counties since 1999, and this would permit courts to exercise jurisdiction over multiple cases involving the same family or among members of the same household.

The public can submit comments on the proposed revisions to Executive Director Lilia G. Judson; Indiana Supreme Court, Division of State Court Administration; 30 S. Meridian St., Suite 500; Indianapolis, IN 46204, or by email to localrulescomments@courts.state.in.us.•

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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