In-box: Improving the way courts do business

March 2, 2011
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Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

Indiana courts are tackling a giant technology project. It matters because it affects both our efficiency and your ability to access court information for free. Right now, our state’s 400 trial courts don’t share case information with each other or with state agencies in the electronic ways that are so common in modern life. There are 21 different computer systems managing court information in our state. As you can imagine, we believe that is a bad business practice and we’re working to do better.

The solution is similar to getting your entire family on the same cell phone plan. It means some people have to get a new number, others have to change their ringtone, and old pictures have to be moved to a new phone. The company losing your business may not be very happy, but that’s not a reason to keep paying your old provider. In the end, it’s less expensive and just makes sense to have the entire family on one plan.

In 2007, we began installing our “family plan.” We selected it with the help of experts (14 bids were submitted to us). We did all the same things you do when changing carriers – considered what would be cost efficient, made sure everyone in the family could use the new system, and carefully searched for hidden costs! We’re confident we made the right choice with Tyler Technology’s case management system called “Odyssey.”

This new program is currently installed in 82 courts in 26 counties, comprising more than 30 percent of our state’s caseload. We’re continuing to install it in courts across Indiana as quickly and accurately as possible. We’re paying for it with federal grants and a $7 fee on certain court cases.

To speed up this installation, we’re asking the Legislature to temporarily increase that fee to $10, with an automatic reduction after we’re done. Finishing this project will finally allow all our courts to be on the same computer system. Essentially, our entire family will be able to share minutes, talk, and text. You have free public access to Odyssey at

We cannot afford to have our courts working on antiquated systems. With nearly 2 million cases filed each year in 400 courts with 175 clerks and 150 probation departments, spread across 36,000 square miles in communities large and small, it is imperative that we use technology to improve the way we do business.

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Randall T. Shepard


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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.