« Vacancy #2 on Supreme Court 2012 - Report on interviews 9 and 10 | Main | Vacancy #2 on Supreme Court 2012 - The Three Finalists? [Updated] »

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Ind. Courts - Problems relating to Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts?

A number of issues have been brought to the attention of the ILB recently. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Annual Attorney Registration.

On Aug. 2nd, Indiana attorneys received a notice re their mandatory annual attorney registration. The long notice said one can now only register online, noting:

Last year, however, we replaced the paper-based method with a new web-based method for you to fulfill your annual attorney registration and certification obligations, called the “Clerk of Courts Portal.”

We have improved the website since last year to make it even easier and more user-friendly.

The ILB has received notes from people unable to register. Today I tried and got a message dated 8/6 stating:
We're sorry...

The Indiana Appellate Clerk's Portal is currently experiencing technical difficulties and is temporarily unavailable.

Attorneys who have not yet completed their registration process will be notified via email when the technical difficulties have been fixed. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2. More Lost Appeals?

In 2008 the COA noted in an opinion:

[W]e have recently become aware of some difficulties in receiving the prompt transmission of fully-briefed appeals to our court. Indeed, the case herein was fully briefed on June 21, 2007, but was not transferred to our court until February 26, 2008—a delay of over eight months. We remind counsel that a link to the Clerk’s online docket is available at http://www.in.gov/judiciary/cofc/ and counsel may check the docket to confirm that the case has, in fact, been transmitted to this court after being fully briefed.
A similar notation appeared in a number of opinions. In this entry, following another such opinion on April 30, 2008, the ILB notes in part:
NOTE that this case was lost in the Clerk's office until last month. And although the Court urges attorneys to check the online docket to make sure their briefed cases have been submitted to the judges, the Clerk has inexplicably been removing entire categories of appeals, such as juvenile appeals, completely from the online docket.

For example, here is an opinion issued last Friday, April 25th * * * The ILB just looked up that case in the online Clerk's docket. It does not exist in the docket.

In other words, anyone looking to see if the case had been appealed would not find it in the docket; the first notice of the appeal would have been the issuance of the COA's opinion. And no attorney in the case would have been able to check the online docket, as the COA appeals has been suggesting, because there is no docket at all for the case.

This situation was ultimately resolved, as this October 8, 2008 ILB entry recounts. However, I've now received some inquiries about a case granted transfer late last month:
St. Joseph Hospital v. Richard Cain - is a Nov. 14, 2010 COA opinion holding: "Because the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction over St. Joseph's unverified petition for judicial review, it improperly granted the HRC's motion to dismiss and declined to rule on the other outstanding motions, namely St. Joseph's motion to amend. The alleged lack of a quorum, however, was not properly raised in St. Joseph's motion to dismiss. We reverse and remand for consideration of St. Joseph's motion to amend."
A Nov. 14, 2010 COA opinion, granted transfer July 27, 2012? A check of the docket shows:
3/17/11 ***********TRANSMITTED ON TRANSFER 03/17/11***********
ENTERED ON 03/17/11 AB
7/26/12 CASE TRANSFERRED TO THE SUPREME COURT

3. Clerk's Office's policy of requiring that all transcripts be sent out for digitizing.

I'm told that in some cases this leads to "Catch 22" problems, but it is much too complex to detail here. If you've run into this, you will know ...

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 8, 2012 04:40 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts