Friday, April 17, 2009

My Adventures in Indianapolis

Sarcasm alert. Oh, and a picture alert.

The set -up: I have an appeal out of Marion County. I am trying to get the Case Summary put together when I find out that the trial court never returned the Notice of Appeal to my office. Earlier in the week, I called the trial court asking them to send the Notice to me. They ask if we included a return envelope. I said we did. We always include return envelope. They send me off to the file clerk in the County Clerk office.

The file clerk informs me that Marion County does not use fax or e-mail. Yes, I was told that.

Now, I admit to a prejudicial belief about Marion County and its courts: the system is designed to keep people from the hinterlands, the boondocks, the other 91 counties from doing business there. Which means people like me.

All this leaves me with the only choice of driving down to Indianapolis and finding the court's file and getting a copy made of what should have been sent to me by the court.

I get there early in the morning. That first photo shows the City-County Building looking west along Market Street. For those old enough to remember the place, I parked in the old Market Square site.

Almost all of our courthouse have some sort of metal detector system. This photo shows Marion County's. Unlike every other courthouse - including the federal courthouse - here people have to take off their belts, too. Quite annoying.

Once I got past this checkpoint, I went to the Marion County Clerk's office. The Clerk's office is on the west side of the City-County Building. Why here and not the court? Generally, the clerk has the job of maintaining and storing the court's files. That also includes the federal courts.

There is a photo of the Clerk's office. I spoke with one of the file clerks. Showed her the cause number. I get told that the file is in the basement. Pay attention here because this will apply to probably a huge amount of family law cases in Marion County: the older files are not on the first floor.

I do not know if the following pictures capture the flavor of the sub-basement but I can hope. Dreary, dull government basement without any sunlight. I waited in line for the clerk.

I showed her the cause number. She did some looking and some thinking and told me that the file had to be in the warehouse. The hearing was only a few months ago now. It would take some days to get the file back to the City-County Building. I have visions of an angry clerk over at the Court of Appeals. But I have no choice. I had squeezed enough time to get there and now I would have to find next week. The schedule for next week is even worse than this past week but I got to do what I got to do.

The things not taught us in law school. The things unknown to outsiders. Instead of walking the Case Summary over to the Court of Appeals, I am heading back to Anderson. Where I wrote an explanatory cover letter to the Court of Appeals.

Nothing happened that might change my opinion about Marion County. All this inefficiency should explain to some why fees are higher to deal with Marion county cases.


unassailable_zeal said...

This was an interesting trip for you. Just had a quick question. Thought you would at least be able to point me in the right direction. I'm 23 and looking for that "perfect career". I want to work with kids, middle school and high school age, whose parents are going through divorce. More of a social worker, working alongside a divorce lawyer. How would I go about this? Thanks for anything you can give me.

Sam Hasler said...

I really do not know of any firm providing this kind of service. I am not even sure how I could implement this kind of service in my practice, but then it has been a long day.