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Posted On April 06, 2020

Indiana Supreme Court Extends Emergency Relief Through May 4, 2020

Due to the ongoing public health emergency relating to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), all Indiana circuit, superior, and probate courts, some small claims courts, and several city and town courts (“trial courts”), have petitioned for, and been granted emergency relief pursuant to Administrative Rule 17.

Because the public health emergency is ongoing, on April 3, 2020 the court extended all Administrative Rule 17 relief through May 4, 2020. 

The relief includes matters regarding: emergency relief to trial courts; continuation of jury trials; tolling of the statute of limitation; county jail and direct placement of non-violent and juvenile offenders; modified sentencing; writs of attachment, civil bench warrants and body attachments; and the filling of status reports.

(Read the Initial Indiana Supreme Court Order from March 23, 2020 below)

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(Read the Updated Indiana Supreme Court Order from April 3, 2020 below)

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(Read a transcribed version of the April 3, 2020 order below)

In the
Indiana Supreme Court
 

In the Matter of Administrative Rule 17 
Emergency Relief for Indiana Trial Courts 
Relating to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 
Supreme Court Case No. 20S-CB-123

Order 

On March 6, 2020, Governor Holcomb declared a public health emergency in Indiana relating to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19); on March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency relating to the virus; and on March 25, 2020, Governor Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-08 which ordered Hoosiers to remain in their homes except when at work or for permitted activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies, and for health and safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that “social distancing” is necessary to minimize further spread of the virus, and the Indiana State Department of Health has issued and will continue to issue recommendations. 

Due to the ongoing public health emergency, all circuit, superior, and probate courts, some small claims courts, and several city and town courts (“trial courts”), have petitioned for, and been granted emergency relief pursuant to Administrative Rule 17. 

Having previously declared an emergency under Administrative Rule 17 for all counties, and because the public health emergency is ongoing, the Court, sua sponte, hereby extends all Administrative Rule 17 relief previously granted under the case numbers listed in Exhibit A attached to this order and incorporated by reference. 

The Court accordingly ORDERS as follows: 

1. The effective date of all orders granting emergency relief to trial courts under Administrative Rule 17, including but not limited to tolling of time limits and authority to continue jury trials (if such authority was previously granted), is extended through May 4, 2020 (or the date initially granted, whichever is later), or the expiration of the public emergency as declared by the Governor, whichever is later.

2. All courts that were granted authority to continue jury trials are directed to review the need for ongoing suspension at an early enough date that, if continued suspension is not necessary, will allow adequate notification of the jury pool to resume jury trials no later than May 4, 2020, or no later than three weeks after the expiration of the public emergency as declared by the Governor, whichever is later. If such courts believe continued suspension is necessary, they may individually petition this Court to extend the suspension further. 

3. Courts are authorized to review county-jail and direct placement community correction sentences of non-violent inmates and juveniles and, after consultation with a team comprising local prosecutors, a public defender, community corrections, the county sheriff, and local health authorities, to modify sentences to probation, home detention, or order temporary release from the jail, with service of executed sentences to resume as thereafter ordered.

4. Absent an emergency basis to be determined by the court, courts shall issue no new writs of attachment, civil bench warrants, or body attachments pursuant to Trial Rule 64 until the expiration of the public health emergency. Any writs of attachment, civil bench warrants, or body attachments issued and not yet served prior to the date of this order shall be stayed until the expiration of the public health emergency as declared by the Governor.

5. Courts are relieved from the requirement under previous Administrative Rule17 orders to file status reports unless they believe continued suspension is necessary, in which case they may petition this Court no later than April 27, 2020 to extend the suspension. Such petition should include all relevant factors that make an extension necessary.

6. This order does not extend the tolling of appellate or Tax Court deadlines as ordered under Case Nos. 20S-CB-123 or 20S-CB-231.

7. In all other respects except as set forth above, existing orders granting emergency relief under Administrative Rule 17 remain in full force and effect.

Done at Indianapolis, Indiana, on  4/3/2020 . 

Loretta H. Rush
Chief Justice of Indiana 

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