A bug in the system

June 17, 2009
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Update 6/19/09:

According to appellate courts’ clerk Kevin S. Smith, there was no bug in the system that caused several disciplinary actions to not be posted between May 9 and June 12. A misunderstanding and human error caused the delay in the postings, Smith wrote in an e-mail to Indiana Lawyer.

The misunderstanding has been corrected.

Smith also noted that the court will not post special judge, senior judge, or hearing officer appointment orders. The court doesn’t want to overload its Web site with relatively minor administrative orders that tend to only be of interest to the parties involved, he wrote.

Every day we check the Indiana Court’s Web site for disciplinary actions and other orders, and every day since May 7, we haven’t seen a new one. That seemed odd, so today we made a few phone calls to find out whether all Indiana attorneys were model citizens or if there was a technical problem keeping the actions from being posted.

Turns out, the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee wasn’t getting any word from the clerk’s office about new disciplinary actions, so it hadn’t posted any new ones. The reason: JTAC had a bug in its system following an update in early May. Between the clerk’s office quest to be as paperless as possible and requirements from West Law, somehow a quirk developed in the system. Because of the bug, e-mails weren’t getting to the right people to post the disciplinary actions.

Thanks to our curiosity and nagging suspicion there had to be attorneys in trouble, JTAC discovered the issue this morning and quickly resolved it. The Supreme Court orders site now has actions posted that were dated after May 7. I’m surprised that this wasn’t brought to someone’s attention prior to our calls.

While I’d like to think our attorneys weren’t out there breaking the rules of conduct, or laws, history shows otherwise. In fact, I knew of two attorneys recently who were sentenced by the courts: one for child solicitation, and another on a drunken driving conviction, which would lead to a disciplinary action.

We’re glad that JTAC fixed the problem and that now we (hopefully) are up to date on our disciplinary actions.
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  • Could you follow up with your contacts to see if a similar problem exists on the page that lists the appointments of hearing officers in attorney discipline cases? It showed a lot of activity in January and March, but hasn\'t been updated since March 25. Here is the link:

    http://www.in.gov/judiciary/orders/hearing-officers/index.html
  • John - it\'s quite possible. I\'m looking into it and will report back.

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  1. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  2. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  3. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  4. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  5. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

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