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ISBA offers 'insider view' of appellate courts

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Indiana attorneys and jurists came together Wednesday to get an insider's view of the state's appellate process and learn more about the nuances of the system.

An afternoon continuing legal education seminar took about 100 attorneys on a walk through the appellate process, from filing motions, how staff attorneys and courts review, and what lawyers can do to make the process easier.

"This is the stuff we all get sweaty palms about, and we'd like to know where the daggers might be coming from," said Indiana State Bar Association president Richard Eynon, who attended the two-hour session.

Put on by the ISBA's Appellate Practice Section, the afternoon seminar was led by a six-member panel including Kent Zepick with Bingham McHale, who moderated the panel discussion; Kevin Smith, Indiana Supreme Court Administrator and Clerk of the Appellate Courts; Heather Smith, Deputy Clerk of the Appellate Courts; Danielle Sheff, a staff attorney for the Indiana Court of Appeals; Russ Hughes, a staff attorney for senior judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals; and Steve Lancaster, Indiana Court of Appeals administrator.

Topics that received attention during the seminar included new procedures attorneys will have to follow for "rotunda filing" once new security systems are in place at the Statehouse, recent appeals involving state administrative agencies relating to how motions and notices must be filed, and how attorneys can assist judges and court staff by including trial court chronological case summaries with their appellate summaries even though court rules don't require it.

"Don't think our court has easy access to trial court records," Sheff said, noting that 7,800 motions with orders came last year and the court often uses Doxpop or CivicNet to access trial records when needed. "If we have to stop to look up the history on your motion, that takes time from everything else."

Another topic delved into an ongoing issue of attorneys' incorrectly citing "Not For Publication" memorandum decisions, especially those being picked up by WestLaw and given N.E. 2d citations.

Panelists also discussed an appellate e-filing system that is currently being studied and could be implemented by the end of the fiscal year July 1, 2008. The courts are investigating IT needs for the entire appellate level this month and want to hear from the legal community this year about how the courts can better assist everyone on this.

"This is your chance to tell us what you like and don't like," Smith said.
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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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