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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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.