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'Rotunda filing' to change with Statehouse security

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Those needing to make after-hour filings for Indiana's two highest appellate courts will have to alter their routine as soon as June 1.

New security measures closing most doors for public access is expected to start next month and will change how the legal community goes about its "rotunda filing" between 5 p.m. and midnight.

Currently, attorneys can go inside the north door before midnight and tender a filing with the capitol police guard stationed there, according to Supreme Court Administrator and Clerk of the Appellate Courts Kevin Smith.

Once security measures are implemented, only two doors will be open during regular business hours for the general public. Both will have security and metal detectors, much like the current security structure at the federal courthouses. Court and state employees will have identification cards to access the other doors and underground tunnels running between Circle Centre Mall and the state government centers.

For attorneys, briefs, motions, and other documents will be filed in a post office-style drop box on the building's east side, using an existing second-floor vestibule area. The container drawer will be large enough to accommodate larger filings, Smith said. Attorneys will need to complete a form to attach to the filing and use a time stamp machine to mark the documents - similar to how capitol police currently stamp the documents. A camera will monitor the area, he said.

A specific time for locking the Statehouse hasn't been established and could fall anywhere between 5 and 7 p.m., Smith said.

Court officials view that as a short-term solution. They are considering a long-term remedy on the west side of the building, which is supposed to be the eventual main public entrance to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. There, court officials want a vestibule area constructed to allow for the "rotunda filing," he said.

Typically, two to four documents are filed each night and received the following morning, Smith said.

"Sometimes, you're getting there at 11:55 p.m., and that walk around the Statehouse could make a difference in being able to file that day or not," he said.

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