ILNews

'Rocket docket' now set for juvenile appeals

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New rules from the Indiana Supreme Court this week officially create an expedited "rocket docket" for certain juvenile cases going through the appellate system.

The court issued an order Tuesday amending the Indiana Trial Procedure Rule 59 and Rules of Appellate Procedure 14.1, which now read to specifically address those cases where state funding decisions for placement services are at issue. The amendments took effect Jan. 1, 2009.

These changes come after last year's legislative and state statute revisions contained in House Enrolled Act 1001, which as part of sweeping property-tax reform shifted funding of juvenile detention costs from counties to the state. The law gave the Indiana Department of Child Services more oversight authority of juvenile delinquency, status, and child welfare cases in a move designed to expand Indiana's ability to collect federal reimbursements and make the process more efficiently centralized through the state agency.

Courts and state officials have been working on this procedure since then to make sure those goals can be met while ensuring adequate appellate review.

Now, this expedited process will allow for the DCS and trial courts to get a quick review of any decisions about state funding with which they don't agree. The whole process is aimed at completing an appeal's procedural aspects within 30 days, without factoring in time for any court decision.

Rule 59 outlines how motions to correct error are handled, and this amendment adds a paragraph about orders relating to services, programs or placement of juvenile delinquents or those children in need of services. No motions to correct error will be allowed concerning various juvenile orders or decrees, the rule states.

Appeals of those orders and decrees are dealt with by Appellate Rule 14.1, which outlines the process for items including notice, transcript and records, memoranda, time extensions, rehearings, and petitions to transfer. Notice must be served and the clerk must complete the record within 15 days, and it must take priority over all other appeal transcripts and records, the rule says.

Each side is allowed five days to file a single memorandum, and no extensions are allowed. Rehearings following a court hearing are also prohibited by the rule. Any transfer petitions for the Indiana Supreme Court must be filed within five days after the Court of Appeals decision without any additional filings allowed.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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