Appellate pleadings and motions going online pushed to July 1

In its third meeting, the Advisory Task Force on Remote Access to and Privacy of Electronic Court Records shifted discussion to what types of trial court cases should be made available online at and any potential issues in doing so.

The task force has already voted to put appellate briefs online, which were available April 1. At its last meeting April 8, it voted to put appellate pleadings and motions online within the next 60 days, but that date was pushed back to July 1 to allow for wording and placement of a warning to lawyers when they are e-filing that these motions would be available to the public.

The task force said there are five to six different e-filing providers and all would have to be notified of the warning that would have to be added, which would take some time. Chief Justice Loretta Rush said at the task force’s next meeting in June she wants to see examples of what the warning would look like so lawyers would be able to notice it.

Henry Circuit Court Judge Mary Willis then spoke about research she did and problems she thought there would be when the court system decided to put trial briefs and judgments online. She said domestic relations and financial cases would be tricky because there are many things in those that can invade a person’s privacy, especially in investigations of those cases.

The same was true of criminal cases, she said. Other members said many states don’t put criminal cases online at all unless there’s a conviction in the case. Rush asked for more data on what other states do in order to guide what Indiana should do in the future.

Discussion was divided into civil trial cases and criminal trial cases. Justice Steven David recommended a “scorecard” that members of the task force could send in to identify what types of cases they thought might be an issue to have online, which members agreed to do. One member said she thought all trial judgments would be fine to put online, but trial orders are “a whole different ball of wax” because of the sensitive information they may contain.

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