Statehouse security means changes to after-hours filing

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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New security measures starting in two weeks at the Indiana Statehouse means the legal community will have to change their routines for after-hours filing.

Beginning June 4, north doors of the building will be locked at 5:30 p.m. and the Capitol Police desk at that entrance will not be staffed as it currently is. The Clerk of the Courts and Department of Administration is installing a drop box for filings to be placed, according to according to Supreme Court Administrator and Clerk of the Appellate Courts Kevin Smith.

That means those doing their "Rotunda filing" for the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court will have to file briefs, motions, and other documents in a Post Office-style drop box on the building's east side, using an existing second-floor vestibule area.

An e-mail circulated to the legal community from Smith outlines the procedure:

· If possible, the filings should be placed in an envelope, bound by an alligator clip, or placed in an accordion folder wrapped by a rubber band. On top of the drop box will be a surface area that will include a pad of forms, time clock, pen, and stapler. The form must be filled out, time/date stamped by the time clock, and stapled to the inside of the original document being filed before being deposited in the drop box.

· The vestibule area is equipped with a security camera that will record all filings. When assembling your materials, note that dimensions of the drop box drawer are approximately 12 inches high by 17 inches wide by 19 inches deep.

Court officials view that as a short-term solution and are hoping for a long-term remedy on the first floor, west side of the building - which is supposed to be the eventual main public entrance to comply with the American Disability Act. There, court officials want a vestibule area constructed inside to allow for the Rotunda filing, Smith said.

Once security measures are implemented June 7, 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.

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