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Justice: Fee hike could mean statewide case management system by 2017

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

If lawmakers during the next legislative session increase a statewide court fee an extra $3, Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan believes the state can fully implement a case management system in all county courts by June 30, 2017.

That would be slightly less than a decade since Indiana’s judiciary hired a Texas company to implement the statewide system known as Odyssey – longer than the original six-year time period expected back in 2002, but it’s expected to cost less than the $92 million originally estimated.

Justice Sullivan briefed the Commission on Courts today about the progress in the past year since his last update and prepared them for what’s needed to move the project forward.

“The reason good technology costs so much is because the economic and intangible benefit is so great,” he said during his nearly two-hour presentation, which highlighted the project’s successes and emphasized that Indiana is standing out nationally because of this type of technology.

Since Tyler Technologies came on board with its Odyssey system in December 2007, more than 62 courts in nearly two-dozen counties have signed onto the public-access system – roughly 25 percent of the state’s total caseload.

The prime source of funding for the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee project, which Justice Sullivan chairs, is an automated fee generated in certain cases throughout the state. Lawmakers first put the fee in place in 2002, starting at $2 then increasing it to $5 the next year, before the current rate of $7 went into effect several years ago. As of last month, the court fees had brought in $55.7 million and JTAC has spent that amount, Justice Sullivan reported.

How the JTAC efforts move forward depend largely on the funding and resources, Justice Sullivan said.

During the past year, members of the General Assembly have publicly questioned the financial wisdom of spending so much money on this JTAC project. Proposed hikes in the automated record-keeping fee in the past two sessions haven’t gained enough support to become law, though the Commission on Courts has twice approved the increase to help pay for the case management system.

Justice Sullivan prepared this report on the heels of those concerns, and he noted that JTAC has also complied with mandates put in place last year: to track courts’ mental health adjudications for federal firearms databases; for connecting protective order registries and prosecutors’ offices; and county court case management systems.

He also noted that JTAC is working with the state Department of Revenue about possible tax-refund interception for any unpaid court costs, something similar to what the state agency already does with unpaid child support and license or permit reviews.

Justice Sullivan also discussed how people involved with the Odyssey implementation are contributing economically to the state by using local businesses, and that JTAC is interested in discussing potential revenue-generating ideas with the other branches of government.

At today’s meeting, Johnson County Clerk Jill Jackson was the only commission member voicing opposition to the JTAC project funding. She was the sole vote against a similar proposal last year when the commission voted 9-1 in favor of the fee increase, and she echoed the same concerns now on grounds that private vendors offering these systems don’t receive state funding and could go out of business.

Members didn’t vote on the fee increase but will likely do that at the commission’s final meeting next month.

The commission also heard requests from Johnson, Bartholomew, Hamilton, and Allen county officials for new judicial officers, converting courts, and changing a court official’s status.
 

Rehearing "Plugging in trial courts" IL Aug. 19-Sept. 1, 2009

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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