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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. Indianapolis Bar Association President John Trimble and I are on the same page, but it is a very large page with plenty of room for others to join us. As my final Res Gestae article will express in more detail in a few days, the Great Recession hastened a fundamental and permanent sea change for the global legal service profession. Every state bar is facing the same existential questions that thrust the medical profession into national healthcare reform debates. The bench, bar, and law schools must comprehensively reconsider how we define the practice of law and what it means to access justice. If the three principals of the legal service profession do not recast the vision of their roles and responsibilities soon, the marketplace will dictate those roles and responsibilities without regard for the public interests that the legal profession professes to serve.

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