IndyBar: Proposal for Citation of Memorandum Decisions Unanimously Rejected

September 24, 2014

Recently, the Indiana Supreme Court unanimously voted to reject the recommendation of three Indianapolis Bar Association sections to allow citations of memorandum decisions. The Appellate Practice Section Task Force crafted the proposal of their recommendations in December 2013, which received support and approval from the Appellate Practice, Criminal Justice and Litigation sections of the IndyBar.

The proposal recommended that citations of all Indiana appellate opinions should be allowed. As the rule currently stands, nearly 75 percent of the Indiana Court of Appeals’ opinions are issued as memorandum (not-for-publication) decisions. The Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling was announced on Friday, Sept. 5.

IndyBar member and IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law professor Joel Schumm provided commentary on the ruling in a post on the Indiana Law Blog. There he noted that the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision “defies the modern reality of ‘memorandum decisions’ being easily accessible.” Schumm’s post goes on to provide ways for lawyers to cite helpful memorandum decisions despite the current rule in Indiana.

IndyBar Appellate Practice Section Chair Stephen J. Peters of Harrison & Moberly LLP notes, “Trial and appellate counsel ... should know their options and the consequences for noncompliance. This is a very real problem faced by civil and criminal attorneys in Indiana trial and appellate courts, so we need to provide information, comments and suggestions for how to professionally and ethically deal with this issue.”•