Commitment to Data Sharing

Full Article

Indiana Court Times on 10/11/2017

Two key initiatives undertaken by Trial Court Technology (TCT) are in the spotlight for playing important roles in the sharing of court data with key stakeholders and the public. Data from the Abstract of Judgment application and the Odyssey court case management system is enhancing the amount and quality of data TCT is now able to share with all three branches of government and the public.

Abstract of Judgment data

Abstract of Judgment data from INcite is improving public safety efforts by feeding statewide felony data to three distinct systems: National Precursor Law Exchange (NPLEx), Indiana’s Criminal History Record Information System (CHRIS), and the new Child Abuse Registry.

Blocking drug purchases at the pharmacy

On July 1, 2016, at the request of the Indiana General Assembly, TCT began sending methamphetamine convictions to NPLEx in an effort to stop sales of certain regulated cold and allergy medications to individuals convicted of methamphetamine related crimes.

In the following eleven months, of the 6,259 records sent to NPLEx, 182 individuals were blocked from purchasing 263 boxes of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products. On July 1, 2017, changes to this law went into effect that required TCT to send all felony drug-related convictions to NPLEx from the Abstract application. As a result of these legislative changes, 41,557 additional records were sent to NPLEx. Going forward, any new Abstract for a drug related felony conviction will be sent to NPLEx nightly.

Improving Criminal History Repository

TCT has worked with judges, clerks, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (IPAC), and the Indiana State Police for years to improve the reporting of criminal conviction information to the Indiana State Police’s CHRIS repository. It is important that courts and clerks send conviction information to ISP because the CHRIS repository is the official source of an individual’s criminal history – or lack thereof.

The process of matching an arrest record with a corresponding conviction is complicated. Although courts, clerks, and prosecutors have been sending conviction information to CHRIS, it has been a manual process for the most part. And ISP states that only 40% of all arrests are matched with a conviction.

In the last couple of years, TCT started to implement the Odyssey/CHRIS interface following the deployment of the Odyssey case management system to a county.

This interface automatically sends the conviction information to CHRIS upon entry of the conviction. TCT began sending Abstract data electronically to CHRIS for those counties that are not using Odyssey

Although judges have been creating an Abstract of Judgment for every felony conviction since July 2012, courts had not been requested to include the arrest number or transaction control number (TCN), a data point required by CHRIS. Beginning July 1, 2017, courts were encouraged to input the arrest number or TCN when completing an Abstract.

The system provides an ‘error report’ for staff to resolve cases that did not successfully transmit to CHRIS. Since July, TCT has transmitted more than 2,300 convictions to CHRIS, convictions that might have been transmitted by the prosecutor, through the mail, or maybe not at all.

Child Abuse Registry introduced

“Kirk’s Law” was enacted by Public Law 52-2016 authorizing the creation of the Child Abuse Registry. Pulling data from the Abstract of Judgment database, this registry includes information on persons convicted of crimes of neglect of a dependent, child selling, battery against a child, and all sex offenses against a child. Throughout June 2017, the Child Abuse Registry became available to the public and can be accessed, along with numerous other services provided by the Indiana Supreme Court, at public.courts.in.gov.

Teacher licensing

During its 2017 Session, the Indiana Legislature passed a new law requiring TCT to begin sharing felony Abstract conviction data with the Department of Education (DOE). DOE will take the Abstract data and review it to determine if any licensed teacher has a felony conviction that may prohibit them from holding a valid teaching license. TCT and DOE have already started to work on this initiative, even though the effective date for this legislation is July 1, 2018.

Odyssey/mycase

The implementation of the Odyssey case management system to more courts continues to expand the number of case records that are available to the public at mycase.in.gov.

Over 20 million records from more than 275 courts are now available. Odyssey handles in excess of 71% of the state’s caseload. Dearborn, Lawrence, and Ohio counties are the most recent to adopt Odyssey. Howard, Lake, Miami, Montgomery, Ripley, and Wayne counties are in the pipeline.

During 2016, TCT released a new application for the public to search these records. In 2017, following the recommendations made by the Task Force on Remote Access to and Privacy of Electronic Court Records, TCT has made additional information available on mycase.in.gov.

Financial information for each court case is now displayed on the chronological case summary. Court orders are available on specific civil case types such as small claims and civil torts.

Pleadings and orders in expungement cases are available. On June 3, attorneys were provided access to view non-confidential documents on public cases by using their credentials from their Court’s Portal account to register on mycase.

An attorney from Vincennes offered this feedback:

“We were recently informed that attorneys now have access to online public documents to mycase.in.gov. I’m not sure who made this decision but I must say that person (or people) should receive a blue ribbon!

It makes this so much easier for the law offices and I am sure it will make things much easier on the Clerk’s office from having to pull files on occasion to get copies of documents.

From my perspective, this is perhaps the greatest advancement in the Indiana Courts from a filing/paperwork perspective in years.”

Joseph Reed, Reed Law Office, Vincennes

Later this fall, attorneys will be able to access confidential case information if they are the attorney of record on that case. Since attorney access was made available, more than 3,400 attorneys have registered.

For additional information on Odyssey, please contact Mary DePrez at 317-234-2604 or mary.deprez@courts.in.gov.