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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Ind. Courts - More on: Details about the video transcripts project; ILB call for attorney reactions

This ILB entry from Sept. 27, 2012 compiled all the information then available to the ILB on the Supreme Court's video transcript pilot project.

Now we have some more information, via this Dec. 20, 2012 article by James Maguire in Indiana Court Times.

The article reports that a study has been conducted:

... to determine the time that transpired between filing of notices of appeal at the trial court level and submission of appellate briefs and transcripts with the appellate courts clerk’s office.

In 2010, there were 2,276 appeals in which a transcript was filed. In those cases, the average number of days was 151 between the filing of a notice of appeal locally and the filing of the briefs and transcript with the appellate clerk. The fewest number of days was 86, and the longest was 229.

Procedures used in other states to help expedite the appellate process and improve record-keeping were reviewed and and three approaches were selected for pilot projects:
  1. in selected courtrooms, use audio/visual recordings on appeal as the record of trial court proceedings in lieu of paper transcripts;
  2. in selected counties, use outside transcript preparation services to expedite transcript preparation for appeals; and
  3. in limited cases, require parties on appeal to file in digital format only their appellate briefs and transcript of proceedings.
Phase 1 is currently being implemented, via the court order discussed in this Sept. 27th ILB entry. From the Court Times article:
All three judges involved in this project have reported favorable responses on this technology from the lawyers appearing before them.

Judge Nancy Boyer presided over a 5-day medical malpractice trial and both plaintiff and defense counsel downloaded each day’s proceedings onto their flash drives. This process took about fifteen minutes. Defense counsel even included parts of their doctor’s videotaped testimony in the presentation software used in final argument.

Judge Mark Stoner also gave high marks on the use of the equipment in his courtroom, with the Public Defender’s Office considering the potential use of the recorded court proceedings for attorney training purposes. Judge Stoner was the first to issue a Notice of Designation of Case as an Audio/Visual Recording Pilot Project Case on September 21, 2012 when a Notice of Appeal was filed in his court.

Justice Loretta Rush reports that none of the attorneys who appeared before her have complained about the system interfering with either their trial preparation or courtroom conduct. She and her court staff are happy with the equipment, and she assigned the primary responsibility to her court administrator for exercising control over the A/V equipment.

Phase 2 of the pilot projects:
The Supreme Court on November 8, 2012 issued its second Order of this three-phase pilot project. The second phase of the pilot project involves using professional transcription providers to prepare expedited (within thirty days) transcripts. AVTRANZ and eScribers are two firms that provide transcription services for courts in Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. Representatives from these two firms made presentations to Appellate Court Judges, Appellate Court and Clerk staff, and Division staff. Those involved made a unanimous recommendation to use the services of both companies, in selected counties, and in a limited number of cases.

The counties chosen to participate in this phase of the pilot project are Hamilton, Lake, Madison, Tippecanoe, and Vanderburgh. The judges in these counties, or their court administrators, working with the Division, will select four (4) cases on appeal and will assign two (2) cases to each firm for expedited transcript preparation. This effort was designated as the Indiana Court Reporting Pilot Project by Using Professional Transcription Experts on Appeal.

Here is the Nov. 8, 2012 Order.

Phase 3 of the pilot projects:

The third phase of the pilot project concerns reducing the amount of paper involved in each appeal. This will be accomplished by requiring: 1) court reporters to submit transcripts electronically or on CD; 2) parties to submit briefs electronically or on CD; and 3) Clerks to submit records electronically or on CD. The Division will select a trial court from which a small number of appeals will be digitally transmitted to the Indiana Court of Appeals.
The ILB would like to post reactions from attorneys actually impacted by one of these pilot projects. What do you like and what could be improved? I won't post your names, but you will need to let me know who you are. Here is one I've received, for starters:
I love the [proposed] changes. I somehow found myself on the CJA panel in federal court on the [stricken] case, so I am learning all about electronic filing. And I love it.

I just spent $13 and way too much time collating, copying, and sending out a Notice of Appeal that would have taken 15 minutes and zero money to file electronically.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 3, 2013 12:59 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts