Online opinions access hits a snag

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Court-watchers looking online to view Indiana's appellate decisions have been denied two days of opinions because those published rulings were not posted online.

A set of three dozen opinions came down Tuesday and Wednesday, but a change last month in how access is provided to those daily rulings meant that only online viewers, those directly involved in a decided case, or those who've traveled to the Indiana Statehouse to inspect opinions knew that any rulings had been released.

By noon today, a list of opinions provided to Indiana Lawyer showed one Supreme Court decision and eight for-publication rulings from the Court of Appeals coming down both days. The problem hadn't been fixed, and it isn't clear when opinions will start reappearing online.

"We regret this is happening, but it's a hazard of technology," said Indiana Supreme Court Administrator and Appellate Clerk Kevin Smith. "You'll have to do what you did before the Internet: travel to Indianapolis to look at them."

According to webmaster Lindsey Borschel, the problem is not within the appellate clerk's office but with the state service provider, Indiana Interactive. Staff tried to post yesterday's opinions, but the system crashed and they weren't input online. Borschel didn't know what caused the problem and hadn't received a response after alerting that provider to the problem.

This service provider system has been in place for years, and Borschel said she didn't recall anything like this happening before. At least one attorney had called the clerk's office after receiving notice an opinion was filed but wasn't able to see it online, Smith said.

In early December, the appellate clerk's office went paperless in the daily posting of opinions and orders to save money and be more environmentally friendly. The Internet became the main method for getting a look at any opinions, orders, and decisions from Indiana's appellate courts, although the public could still travel to clerk's office in downtown Indianapolis to view those documents. Anyone wanting to take copies or receive a fax would have to pay a fee per page.

The courtesy copies traditionally provided to Indiana Lawyer and other media outlets free of charge were eliminated, meaning that only those Web postings showed what was handed down each day.

At the time, Smith said the hope was to reduce paper consumption by about 176,000 double-sided sheets a year.

This is the second glitch that's hampered the online public access of opinions since the change, with the first happening Jan. 3. After starting a procedure to attach an electronic timestamp graphic on each opinion that shows date and time, the first Court of Appeals opinions of 2008 were password protected and locked so that people accessing the online opinions were unable to print them. That problem was an internal, unintended glitch resolved the same day.

"We're sort of at the mercy right now of our service provider," Smith said. "We are working diligently to do what we can to get the problem fixed."

This afternoon the clerk's office posted a notice online about the technical difficulties.

Opinions for the appellate courts are available online at, while disciplinary and other orders can be found at Separately, the day's opinions are also included on the Indiana Lawyer Web site each afternoon and included in Indiana Lawyer Daily.

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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.