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Court opinions, orders online

January 1, 2007
The Internet is now the main method for getting a look at any opinions, orders, and decisions from Indiana's appellate courts.

Starting today, the appellate clerk's office hopes to save money and be more environmentally friendly by discontinuing its practice of providing courtesy copies of published orders, opinions, and disciplinary actions. Traditionally, those have been available to media and news outlets free of charge. The office hasn't calculated the budget savings, but hopes to reduce the paper consumption by about 88,000 sheets a year, according to Supreme Court Administrator and Appellate Clerk Kevin Smith. Overall, with the double-sided documents, copiers produce about 176,000 images annually.

If the court or clerk's office makes an error and a correction must be issued, the original document will be vacated and a new, revised order will be posted with a new issue date, Smith said. Currently, the office republishes that opinion with a correction sheet attached to the front.

"The estimated reduction in the number of paper copies and copier images alone demonstrate obvious substantial fiscal and environmental benefit," Smith wrote in an e-mail to Indiana Lawyer. "Further, I really don't see any downside to this move, given the efforts and money we have already expended and continue to expend to make the courts' opinions available electronically to the media and public free of charge on our website."

While orders and opinions are posted online each day, the documents are still available for public inspection at the clerk's office, located in the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Opinions for the appellate courts are available online at www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions, while disciplinary and other orders can be found at www.in.gov/judiciary/orders.

Separately, the day's opinions are also included on the Indiana Lawyer Web site each afternoon and included in Indiana Lawyer Daily.
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