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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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