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Statewide system debuts in City Court

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Greenwood City Court is the state's first city or town court to start using a tool that will eventually connect all of Indiana courts' case management systems.

Greenwood will now be used as a guide for the 75 city and town courts statewide, the latest in a process that's gradually grown throughout Indiana since the system was first launched on a pilot basis in December 2007.

Known as the Odyssey computer system, it's been now installed at 23 courts in seven counties - making up 16 percent of all cases filed statewide, and City Judge Lewis Gregory's court is the newest addition with more than 7,000 new ordinance violations, traffic infractions, and misdemeanor criminal cases each year. The system went online there about a month ago.

Justice Frank Sullivan, who chairs the state's effort in implementing the system, joined Judge Gregory at a public demonstration today - along with other state and city officials; Sen. Richard Bray, R-Martinsville, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee; and a handful of judges from the Johnson County legal community.

"In some ways, it's not a surprise that Greenwood would be the first to take this important step," Justice Sullivan said, pointing out that the northern Johnson County court is one of only two state-certified drug and recovery courts and has led the way in that area. "This court represents a milestone in our effort to modernize court technology in Indiana."

Through the Indiana Supreme Court's Judicial Technology and Automation Committee (JTAC), Odyssey connects each court's system with others throughout the state and gives them access to police, state agency, and protective order registries. That includes an e-traffic ticket feature that allows Indiana State Police and authorities to use scanning equipment in their patrol cars to print out citations, and then send that information electronically between the police, courts, and Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

More installations are scheduled for later this year, including the New Haven City Court on July 1. The program will also go through an update in 60 to 90 days to include probation departments from all counties where the system is operating, Justice Sullivan said. Testing will begin on that aspect in coming weeks.

Justice Sullivan estimates that it could take five years to plug all of the remaining county courts into the system, and much depends on funding resources. Courts pay no installation costs, training costs, license fees, or annual maintenance costs for Odyssey; those costs are paid by JTAC using the proceeds from a court filing fee dedicated to the project by the General Assembly - a fee that is expected to increase once lawmakers institute a final budget this summer.

Once a court is added to Odyssey, the case information is available at no cost to the public online at http://courts.IN.gov.

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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