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Supreme Court amends state rules for courts, attorneys

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Multiple new rule changes will begin next year for the state’s court system, which were announced in a slew of Indiana Supreme Court orders released earlier in the week.

Seven orders dated Sept. 20 were posted online Thursday and make changes to trial and evidentiary rules, post-conviction remedies, appellate procedure, admission and discipline rules and attorney professional conduct regulations. Most take effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The rules revised are:
-    Trial Procedure: Rules 3.1, 53.1, 59, and 81.1
-    Post-Conviction Relief: Rules PC1 and PC2
-    Appellate Procedure: Rules 2, 9, 10, 11, 14, 14.1, 15, 16, 23, 24, 25, 46, 62, 63, and Forms 9-1, 9-2, 14.1-1, 15-1, 16-1, and 16-2
-    Admission and Discipline: Rules 2, 3, and 23
-    Evidence: Rules 501, 502, and 803
-    Professional Conduct: Rule 6.6
-    Administrative: Rules 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 14

Among the changes are revisions to the rule about attorneys admitted temporarily before Administrative Law Judges, the process for “lazy judge motions,” and the district structure for Indiana’s pro bono attorneys.

Specifically, Indiana Trial Procedure Rule 53.1 deals with what are known as “lazy judge motions,” and the changes put the determination that a judge’s ruling was past the 30-day limit in the hands of the Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration executive director, rather than the clerk of the court. Proposed changes in the spring would have given judges additional time – 45 instead of 30 days – to rule on motions and cases, but the final version approved by the Supreme Court keeps that time limitation at 30 days with the possibility of extensions.

Admission and Discipline Rule 3, Section 2 is amended to address those out-of-state attorneys and lay people who appear before Administrative Law Judges in state agency proceedings. The issue came up last year after a conflict was discovered between the Indiana Constitution and the state’s Admission and Discipline Rules. The former gives that attorney-admission authority exclusively to the Supreme Court, while the rules haven’t clearly addressed how non-Hoosier lawyers practicing before executive agencies should be handled.

Some ALJs have been admitting out-of-state attorneys for those proceedings, while others haven’t. The Supreme Court was considering whether the ALJs, Supreme Court, or local general jurisdiction court should have the authority to grant that status. In the rule changes, the Supreme Court allows any Indiana court to permit an out-of-state lawyer to appear in those administrative agency settings. The regular admission requirements for temporary attorneys then apply.

Another rule revision made this week includes Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 6.6, regarding the voluntary attorney pro bono plan. The court reshaped the jurisdictional infrastructure from 14 to 12 districts.

The new districts are:

- District A consists of Lake, Porter, Jasper, and Newton counties;
- District B is LaPorte, St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall, Starke, and Kosciusko counties;
- District C is LaGrange, Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Steuben, Wells, and Whitley counties;
- District D is Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Tippecanoe, Warren, Benton, Carroll, Vermillion, Parke, Boone, and White counties;
- District E is Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Tipton, Pulaski, Grant, and Wabash counties;
- District F is Blackford, Delaware, Henry, Jay, Madison, Hamilton, Hancock, and Randolph counties;
- District G is Marion County;
- District H is Greene, Lawrence, Monroe, Putnam, Hendricks, Clay, Morgan, and Owen counties;
- District I is Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Johnson, Shelby, Rush, and Jennings counties;
- District J is Dearborn, Jefferson, Ohio, Ripley, Franklin, Wayne, Union, Fayette, and Switzerland counties;
- District K is Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Martin, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, Sullivan, Vigo, and Warrick counties; and
- District L is Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Orange, Scott, and Washington counties.

 

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  • Key change in appellate rules
    This article doesn't mention an important change in the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure. As of January 1, 2012, the Notice of Appeal goes from a simple document filed with the trial court clerk to a much more extensive document with multiple attachments -- essentially, the Appellant's Case Summary, which will no longer exist -- to be filed with the Court of the Clerks (appellate court clerk) and served on the trial court and parties. There is a two-year window of tolerance during which filing with the trial court will not forfeit the right to appeal -- but the rules do not say what happens if one files the old short-form Notice of Appeal with the trial court clerk during that period.

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