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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ind. Courts - Financing Odyssey, INcite and electronic filing almost entirely by fees on infractions and ordinance violations?

Here is the history of the Court's automated recordkeeping fee (ARK), including the changes made in 2013 to IC 33-37-5-21:

Changes to the Annual Automated Record Keeping Fee Through the 21st Century
2001 $2 annually
2002 $5 annually until 7-1-03, then $7 annually until 7-1-09, then $4 annually thereafter.
2004 $7 annually until 7-1-09, then $4 annually thereafter.
2007 $7 annually until 7-1-11, then $4 annually thereafter.
2009 $7 annually until 7-1-11, then $4 annually thereafter.
2011 $7 annually until 7-1-11, then $5 annually thereafter.
2013 $7 annually until 7-1-15, then $5 annually thereafter, except
$5 annually until 7-1-15, then $5 annually thereafter with respect to actions resulting in the accused person entering into a: (A) pretrial diversion program agreement under IC 33-39-1-8; or (B) deferral program agreement under IC 34-28-5-1.

Valuable background information on the automated record keeping fee can be found in this Feb. 25, 2013 ILB post. See particularly the 5-page LSA fiscal impact report and, at the end of the post, the Indiana Judicial Center's summary re what happened at the Ways & Means Committee meeting.

The final budget compromise, before the General Assembly today, includes provisions which raise the ARK fee from $5 to $19. You can find it in SECTION 261 of the Conference Committee Report on HB 1001 along with changes in SECTION 260 to the document storage fee, which impact non-Odyssey counties:

Some questions the ILB has had:

* Is the overall plan that Odyssey, INcite and electronic filing are all going to be funded now and in the future by a $19.00, or higher, ARK fee?

* It has never been clear to the ILB exactly who pays the ARK fee. IC 33-37-5-21, the automated record keeping fee section, begins:

(a) This section applies to all civil, criminal, infraction, and ordinance violation actions.
However, the State doesn't pay the fee, and indigent defendants do not pay the fee. It has been pointed out by some that ARK is essentially a tax on traffic offenders and small claims filers and that the courts only get the fee on infractions if the defendant is found guilty.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 29, 2015 11:29 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts