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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ind. Courts - More on: Appellate Clerk announces an entirely new docket by the end of the year

That was to be the end of 2011, according to this Nov. 7, 2011 ILB entry, quoting from an article by state Court Clerk Kevin Smith in the Oct. 31, 2011 Court Times. From the article:

Phase II will involve a complete overhaul of the Clerk’s Online Docket, which, at long last, is being replaced with an entirely new system. Users will be able to search for case dockets using multiple criteria (such as party name, court on appeal, trial court, appellate cause number, lower cause number, case type, litigant name, attorney name, trial court judge, date restrictions, etc.), and then further narrow and/or sort the results by similar criteria. They also will be able to view a docket from the results list, and then “go back” to their results screen again without having to run the query all over again.

Further, interested persons will now be able to use the Clerk’s Online Docket for research purposes in ways they have never been able to before. For example, if someone wanted to see how many appeals were filed from a particular trial court during 2011, she could simply specify the trial court and a date restriction of 2011, and up will come all appeals opened during 2011 from that trial court. She would then be able to look at the dockets in each case, gleaning relevant information from each and then going “back” to the list to look at the next one.

Other examples could include viewing the dockets in all appeals involving mortgage foreclosures, or in all appeals in which a certain attorney was counsel of record, or in all appeals filed with Court of Appeals during a given week. The possibilities are limitless concerning the information that attorneys, members of the media, and members of the public will now be able to gather easily from the Clerk’s Online Docket. We anticipate Phase II will be completed by the end of calendar year 2011.

The ILB has seen no word on what has happened to the exciting project - has it been abandoned?

The Indiana project came to mind this morning when reading this article from the Pew Center on the States, titled "State Courts Replacing Paper with Electronic Record-Keeping." Melissa Maynard's story begins:

When lawyers bring a case before the Texas Supreme Court, they don’t just have the option of filing their documents electronically; they are required to do so. That’s how far the Texas court has gone toward converting itself from a paper-intensive to a paperless operation.

It hasn’t been easy. Some of the judges still insist on taking the electronic documents and printing them out to read page-by-page. “We are in a profession that likes its traditions, and I think that adds to some of the resistance to change,” says Blake Hawthorne, the court clerk.

And the process still has a long way to go. Even through the electronic record has become the official record, parties in a case are still obligated to print out and send in at least a few copies of most types of documents the old-fashioned way. Far fewer copies are required than before, but the volume of paper weaving its way through the court remains substantial. This is in part to meet the needs of the justices who haven’t been as quick to adapt to a paperless way of doing business and partly to deal with the fact that Texas state government doesn’t yet have an electronic records preservation program. “There is an issue as to how one is going to be able to turn over electronic records to the state if they don’t have the ability to take them from us,” Hawthorne says.

Still, the change is happening, and it will not be reversed. “With electronic filing,” says Hawthorne, “you can do anything that you can dream up, it's all just a question of how you're going to pay for it. That’s the reality that quite a few states are dealing with right now.”

Electronic filing, however, was not even mentioned in the Court Times article...

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 25, 2012 01:37 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts