By Jeffrey A. Baldwin, Voyles Vaiana Lukemeyer Baldwin & Webb
The Indiana Supreme Court recently announced several rule changes, effective January 1, 2018, that may have a big impact on criminal law practitioners.
An amendment to Indiana Administrative Rule 9(G)(2)(j) changes the way sensitive pre-trial document disclosure is handled. The prior text of the rule excluded from public access arrest warrants, search warrants, indictments and informations that the trial judge ordered confidential, but it did not state a standard. This is the text of the old rule:
"Arrest warrants, search warrants, indictments, and informations ordered confidential by the trial judge, prior to return of duly executed service."
Beginning January 1, a new rule provides the missing standard. The entire criminal case is excluded from public access between the issuance of the arrest warrant and the arrest of the defendant, in cases involving an increased risk of flight by the defendant, an undue risk of harm to the community or law enforcement, or jeopardy to an ongoing criminal investigation:
"Entire criminal cases when a request to exclude Case Records from Public Access is filed contemporaneously with a request for an arrest warrant
- When probable cause to justify issuance of an arrest warrant has been established, the Case Records shall be publicly accessible unless the judge determines that the facts presented in the request for exclusion for Public Access support a reasonable belief that public disclosure will increase the risk of flight by the defendant, create an undue risk of harm to the community or a law enforcement officer, or jeopardize an on-going criminal investigation.
- An order exclusion Public Access issued under this section shall expire immediately upon the arrest of the defendant."
A similar rule under subsection (m) will apply to situations involving conditions of post-conviction supervision, like violations of probation, and subsection (n) will apply to ex parte proceedings like search warrant applications.
An amendment to the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure, also taking effect January 1, changes the way appellate cases are numbered. So, for example, a criminal case appeal taken from the Marion Superior Court to the Indiana Court of Appeals will be numbered 18A-CR-001, the "18" representing the year 2018, the "A" representing the Court of Appeals (rather than "S" for the Supreme Court) the "CR" for the case type - criminal - and the 001 for the sequentially assigned number of case filings of that type during the year. Under the new system, it is not possible to tell the county of origin from the case number alone. This change was made to expedite the electronic filing of notices of appeal which are presently conventionally filed in the appellate clerk's office.
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