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Dickson makes pitch for Odyssey funding

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Procuring money to expand the Odyssey case management system is “one of our most urgent priorities,” Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson told the General Assembly on Wednesday in his first State of the Judiciary address.

“The court intends to do everything we can to bring our Odyssey system as soon as possible to every county that wants it,” Dickson told a joint session of the Indiana House and Senate. “But this requires more resources. The court really needs help from the General Assembly this session to upgrade the necessary filing fee revenue stream.”

About 40 percent of Indiana’s caseload is managed by Odyssey, whose expansion has been funded with civil case filing fees. Until 2011, $7 per case went to the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee for that purpose. The Legislature cut that to less than $5 in 2011.

Dickson said juvenile justice reform also is a priority for the court, particularly the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative that he said has rolled out in eight counties and serves 34 percent of the state’s at-risk youth.

“This is a proven model that really works to improve community safety, to get more kids on the right track, to reduce school dropout rates, to reduce juvenile detention and to lower incarceration rates,” Dickson said.

Dickson also made a plea for attorneys to serve Hoosiers of limited means. “We want to encourage and empower Indiana lawyers to more fully realize the vision of their oaths and the Code of Professional Responsibility which requires that they serve ‘the cause of the defenseless, the oppressed, or those who cannot afford adequate legal assistance.’”

Dickson noted the “massive change” for the court, in which he succeeded retired Chief Justice Randall Shepard, and the appointments of justices Steven David, Mark Massa and Loretta Rush in the past two-plus years.

“We intend that the ‘new’ court will be a continuance, and even an enhancement, of the things admired in the ‘old’ one,” Dickson said.

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  • Odyssey funding
    Last session, the Legislature drilled down into the extremely high cost associated with the Odyssey that Indiana has been on. The Legilature decisively came down on the side of greater competition and autonomy of the clerks of Indiana's 92 Counties to select a system that is functional for the respective courts and clerks. In so doing, the legislature rejected the monopolistic one-size fits all prescription of the Texas firm to which tens of millions of Hoosier dollars have been funnelled. For a system that has never performed as promised. Of course, Odyssey involves a large measure of overkill, as there really is no need for all of Indiana to have statewide access to the parking tickets amassed by my three daughters while in college in Bloomington, nor to those of hundereds of thousands of other college students there (or in W.Laf., S. Bend, etc.). The other benefit of the Legislatuere's curtailing the cash drain to Texas is thet an entrepreneur domiciled in Indiana is provideing the services actually desired by a majority of Indiana's ocunties. At a fraction of Odyssey's cost. It is reassuring to know the legislature has shown concerned about a "good to great" ROI. (another factoid-After a $200,000 consultant's report declared the project ready for a final push, the Judicial Council of California scrapped the Odyssey program after $500 million in costs).Krigsman, Michael (2 April 2012). "California abandons $2 billion court management system". ZDNet.

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  1. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

  2. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

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