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6 counties next in line for trial court e-filing

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Six Indiana counties — Clark, Harrison, Henry, St. Joseph, Shelby and Wells — will be joining Hamilton County in implementing e-filing in the trial courts during the first half of 2016, with more to come later.

The expansion of trial court e-filing comes as Indiana's appellate courts are pushing ahead with adopting an electronic-filing system that state officials say will eventually give the public free access to online court records statewide.

The Indiana Supreme Court and the state Court of Appeals began offering e-filing in November, and the Indiana Tax Court will follow in January. The goal is for trial courts in all 92 counties to offer e-filing by the end of 2018; Hamilton County has already instituted it and six others will follow in the first half of 2016.

Attorneys can still file paper versions of briefs and other legal documents for the two top state courts, but they're already starting to embrace e-filing because it eliminates the costs of photocopying, binding, mailing and hand-delivering voluminous amounts of documents, high court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said.

It's a "modernization of how we do business," she said, noting it will lessen the state's need to store reams of legal documents. Dolan said the Supreme Court alone is asked to consider about 1,000 cases each year and each can generate multiple banker boxes' worth of documents, all of which must be stored in Indiana's downtown Indianapolis government complex and other locations.

The transition will be paid for in part by an increase in the filing fee for civil cases. Indiana's two-year state budget approved last spring also allocates $14.5 million each year for programs that include developing and implementing the statewide e-filing system for court documents, as well as case management systems and related initiatives, said Matt Lloyd, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Pence.

Tyler Technologies, a state contractor which manages an online court docket system called Odyssey that about 60 percent of Indiana's counties have joined over the past several years, will implement and manage the e-filing system for county-level trial courts.

There will be challenges in getting the wide range of computer systems used by Indiana's counties "to start talking to each other," said Stephen Creason, a deputy attorney general and chief counsel of the state Attorney General office's appeals division.

But once those kinks are worked out, he said, attorneys, litigants and the general public will have free access to lawsuits, court documents on criminal and civil actions and other court matters.

"Essentially the clerk's office doors are going to be open electronically, on the Internet, 24-7, 365 days a year, at no cost," he said. "So, the public can find out what the business of the courts is and what is going on in the court system.

"I think that's a huge step forward for Indiana."

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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