The Indiana Supreme Court issued two new Orders on May 13, 2020.
The Emergency Order Permitting Expanded Remote Proceedings provides guidelines for Trial Courts to conduct hearings by remote proceedings. The Order allows Courts to use audiovisual communication to conduct proceedings whenever possible to ensure all matters proceed expeditiously and fairly, including all proceedings in felony criminal cases. A party must object at the outset if they disagree with the proceeding. The Court must find good cause to proceed over the objection. Telephonic communication may be used if audiovisual communication is not possible.
Trial Courts must keep a record of the proceeding to enable completion of a transcript in the event of appeal. Trial Courts are also tasked with creating a procedure allowing confidential communication between a party and their counsel.
Courtroom decorum is still required in remote proceedings. The Supreme Court has issued guidelines for remote procedures, which can be found at: https://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/remote-hearings-tips.pdf.
The Order extends the Trial Courts’ deadline to issue transition plans for expanded operations to May 30, 2020. The effective date of all Orders granting emergency relief to Indiana trial courts is extended through May 30, 2020, including the tolling of deadlines and continuation of non-essential cases. Trial Courts shall not resume jury trials until at least July 1, 2020 without prior approval of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court also issued a task report entitled, “Resuming Operations of the Trial Courts.” Each county’s court is ordered to address areas of concern identified in the report, including but not limited to:
a. Protections for ensuring court employee health and safety as operations resume;
b. Policies for protecting public health and safety in accordance with county health
department guidelines as court facilities reopen;
c. County and court plans for sanitizing and maintaining sanitation of court
d. Procedures for maintaining a record and allowing public access to remote
e. Policies for selecting jurors and procedures for protecting the health and safety of
Our local trial court is working diligently to ensure parties, attorneys, and staff are safe as the Courts reopen to non-essential hearings.