Wednesday, June 01, 2016
Ind. Gov't. - Can county clerk charge $1.00/page for court documents?
On May 25th, Indiana public access counselor Luke Britt issued Informal Inquiry 16-INF-12; Copy fees for court records. It concludes:
The true exception I take with this circumstance is the Clerk is charging the $1.00 per page for documents of which the Clerk is not the intended custodian. By its admission, the Court itself prepared the Court calendars, the sign-in sheet and the bailiff’s notes and “delivered to the Clerk.” This totaled 188 of the 334 pages for which you were charged.ILB: I'm not sure I understand this. IC 33-37 deals with "Court Fees." IC 33-37-5 deals with "Collection of Additional Fees."
The Clerk of Courts is a Constitutional administrative office. See Indiana Constitution Article 6. Although it is inextricably intertwined with the judiciary, it is not a judicial office, but rather a separately elected position. The Clerk is the official custodian of the Court’s judicial docket and other records germane to the Clerk’s official duties under Indiana Code § 32-33, but it is not the custodian of the Court’s administrative or operational public records. Funneling documents through the Clerk does not increase their value from the $.10 per page cap in the APRA to $1.00 a page. Had you sought the documents directly from the Court or its staff, it could only charge you $.10 per copy. Therefore, it is my Opinion the documents prepared by Court staff which would not be a Clerk’s public records but for your request, should only carry a copy fee of $.10 per page.
Apparently, according to this opinion, the county clerk can charge $1.00/page for documents it prepares, but can only charge $0.10/page for documents the county court itself prepared and delivered to the clerk: "the sign-in sheet and the bailiff’s notes.” But at the State level, paper copies of appellate documents cost $1.00/page at the state clerk of the courts office.