Supreme Court seeks public comment on criminal, trial, appellate rule amendments

The Indiana Supreme Court is seeking public comment on several proposed rule amendments that, among other things, could restructure the state’s criminal rules as well as provide guidance for service via online publication.

Justices are inviting feedback from the bench, bar and public on the proposed amendments to Indiana’s appellate, criminal and trial rules by no later than 1 p.m. EDT on Aug. 10.

 The proposed amendments to the Rules of Criminal Procedure would reorganize and update the existing rules.

A summary of the proposed amendments says the revisions are “primarily stylistic,” with the goal of “modernizing the rules and making them more user friendly.”

The criminal rules would be reorganized into six chapters — General, Pretrial Procedure, Trials and Guilty Pleas, Speedy Trial Requirements and Remedies, Post-trial, and Miscellaneous — and would add five new rules:

  • Precharging process (Rule 1.4).
  • Information or indictment (Rule 2.1).
  • Initial hearing (Rule 2.3).
  • Discovery (Rule 2.5).
  • Guilty pleas (Rule 3.3).

The summary also provides a cross-reference chart to track the location of existing rules within the new six-chapter structure.

Also, the court is seeking comment on proposed amendments to Indiana Rule of Trial Procedure 4.13, governing service by publication.

Among those proposed amendments is the addition of language allowing service publication in a newspaper or on the Indiana court legal notice website. The rule would be amended to provide specific guidance for service by publication in a newspaper or online, respectively.

Amendments are also proposed to Trial Rule 5 to specifically allow for service of documents by “electronic means.”

Finally, amendments proposed to the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure would make changes to the index of exhibits, appendix volumes and transcript volumes.

Those changes would begin with striking a single line from Rule 28(C)(1)(a) regarding submission of electronic transcripts. Specifically, the amendment would strike the phrase, “and the documentary exhibits are in electronic form,” from the requirement that the court reporter transmit an electronic transcript to the trial clerk through the Indiana e-filing system if electronic filing is required.

Next, a proposed amendment to Rule 29(A), governing documentary exhibits, would only require the reporter to prepare an index of exhibits in separate volumes “that conforms to the requirements of Appendix A(14).” The current language also requires that the index be “placed at the front of the first volume of exhibits.”

Multiple amendments were proposed for Appellate Rule 51(C), the numbering of appendices. Those include new language requiring that, “All pages of the Appendix volume, including the front page (see Rule 51(E)), shall be consecutively numbered … .” Also, language requiring each volume to begin with numeral one on its front page would be struck.

Lastly, several changes were recommended for Appendix A of the appellate rules regarding standards for preparation of electronic transcripts. Among those recommendations was the addition of language requiring the court reporter to prepare a table of contents “for the entire transcript,” and to prepare “an index of all of the exhibits.”

Comments on the proposed amendments can be submitted online or via mail to Jennifer Bauer, Indiana Office of Court Services, 251 N. Illinois St., Ste. 800, Indianapolis, 46204.

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