The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications issued an advisory opinion addressing whether the Rule 2.17 prohibition against the broadcast of court proceedings should extend to actions like microblogging or tweeting, as well as the extent of a judicial officer’s ability to impose reasonable restrictions on these forms of communication within the courtroom.
The Commission’s view is that microblogging, tweeting, or electronically relaying a written message does not constitute broadcasting under Rule 2.17. The Commission also recognizes that valid policy considerations exist which may necessitate a judge placing reasonable restrictions on these activities in the Courtroom.
Trial Court Documents Free & Online Through Odyssey
A wide range of Indiana trial court documents will soon be available online for free through the state’s case management system, Odyssey, at mycase.in.gov. The increased access is part of a larger initiative to make court documents more easily available to the public. Nearly 70% of the state’s newly filed cases are in Odyssey, which is used by 258 courts in 60 counties.
Chief Justice Loretta Rush expressed appreciation to the 21-member Advisory Task Force on Remote Access and Privacy of Electronic Court Records, “The diverse group provided thoughtful recommendations to the Supreme Court after examining how to best balance transparency and privacy in today’s electronic world. The Supreme Court is pleased to make financial information and case orders available to the public through our state system.”
The Court order describes the timeline for financial information and court orders to be available online. For example, financial information, such as payments made by defendants/litigants to Clerk’s Offices will be available March 1. Certain civil orders and expungement pleadings will also be available March 1. Final orders in criminal cases will be available August 1. Attorneys and parties to a case will also gain greater access to cases, including their own electronic records in coming months by registering through the system. The Task Force will continue to meet to study online access to records and is expected to make additional recommendations to the Court.
The Task Force was established in February 2016 to study best practices and policies on Internet access to electronic court records. It includes members of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches; press; and educators. It met in six public meetings in 2016 and made multiple recommendations to the Court, including a formal report which was posted for public comment.
Based on earlier recommendations, the Court previously made certain appellate briefs and orders available online.
HSPA executive director and general counsel, Steve Key, was appointed by Chief Justice Rush to serve on the task force. More information about the Task Force can be found online.