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Technology in the Court Room: A Recent Indiana Supreme Court Order

Without question, technology is progressing each day and infiltrating uncharted territory in almost every field and area of life. The reach of technology is expanding within the traditional field of law, allowing attorneys and Courts to communicate more quickly and efficiently.

For example, many Courts allow filings to be faxed to the Court, without requiring a hard copy. This can save not only time, as the filing is immediate, but may save on postage and other expenses of mail. Also, through a program called My Case or Odyssey, many Court dockets are available in real time online1.

However, there are still areas of law where technology has not yet spread. For example, until recently, laptops were not permitted or limited in the Indiana Supreme Court during oral arguments, as this process is steeped in tradition. An Order from the Indiana Supreme Court on January 23, 2013 reevaluated the use of electronics in the Court2.

The Order explored the background of how photography and filming have expanded over the last several years. In fact, oral arguments heard by the Indiana Supreme Court are now available as high definition videos, with over 800 videos now online, including webcasts from 2001 to the present. These provide learning tools for students, teachers, and those interested in law worldwide.

The recent January 23, 2013 Order addresses the mediums of audio and video feeds, still photography, interviews after oral argument and the use of recorded material from oral arguments. Many of these are directed at the media and their affiliates.

The Order also includes a section on personal computing devices, as well. The Order allows persons to use portable computing devices, such as laptops and tablets in the Courtroom gallery. There are, however, certain restrictions.

First, a person desiring to bring a computing device to the gallery must get prior authorization from the Supreme Court Sheriff (or designee) at least fifteen (15) minutes prior to the start of the oral argument. People with computing devices must also sit in the back row of the gallery and mute any sounds and avoid distractions, such as loud typing. Further, the computer or tablet may not be used to record audio or video of the oral argument.

While it may require some preparation and knowing the limitations, outside technology seems to be making its way to the highest Court of Indiana. Being aware of the availability of videos and personal computing, and the restrictions of same can allow people to take advantage of the progressing technology in the Courts.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in exploring the new face of technology in law. Again, just another example of the Indiana judicial system being responsive to the needs of the times. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.

  1. Indiana Court Dockets
  2. Indiana Supreme Court Order

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