Supreme Court amends state appellate procedure and access to court records rules

Amendments have been made to the state’s appellate procedure rules, including the addition of new language regarding transfer notices, the assembly of appendices and preparation of electronic transcripts.

Indiana Supreme Court justices in a Dec. 16 order unanimously approved the amendments to the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Appellate Procedure Rule 28, the preparation of transcripts by a court reporter, clarified in Section C that if e-filing is required in the trial court by Trial Rule 87(B)(1) then the court reporter shall transmit the electronic transcript to the trial court clerk through the IEFS.

In Rule 29, dealing with exhibits, the high court made a change to Section A regarding documentary exhibits by clarifying that the court reporter shall prepare an index of the exhibits contained in the separate volumes that conforms to the requirements of Appendix A(14).

Regarding the numbering of appendices in Rule 51, language was added to clarify in Section C that all pages of the Appendix volume, including the front page, shall be consecutively numbered at the bottom starting with numeral one on each volume’s front page. The amendment also states that the appendix page numbers should not obscure without obscuring the page numbers existing on the original documents.

Rule 57, dealing with petitions to transfer and briefs, renamed Section D to read as “Brief in Response or Notice Regarding Transfer.” Under that rule, the high court added language stating that if a party doesn’t intend to respond to the petition, the party may file a notice that no response will be filed.

“The Notice may not include any argument or other commentary on the merits of the petition or case. The Notice will be treated as a brief in response if it includes anything other than a statement that no response will be filed,” the new language states.

Verbiage added in Section E of the same rule clarifies that if a brief in response if filed, the petitioning party may file a reply brief no later than 10 days after a brief in response is served

Finally, several changes were made to Appendix A, dealing with standards for preparation of electronic transcripts. Changes were specifically made to sections dealing with numbering, transcript volume, table of contents, index of exhibits and file formatting and size.

The amendments take effect Jan. 1

New language was also added to the Indiana Rules for Access to Court Records regarding defendant treatment reports.

The Supreme Court on Dec. 16 made amendments to Access to Court Records Rule 5, including language that clarifies that reports on a defendant’s treatment to restore competency are excluded from public access.

The changes also clarify that if a defendant does not regain competency, regular commitment proceedings are initiated under a mental health case, which is also entirely excluded from public access.

Amendments approved by the high court go into effect Jan. 1, according to the order signed by Chief Justice Loretta Rush.

Members of the high court began seeking feedback on proposed amendments to the rule in October. Public comment was accepted until Nov. 1.

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