With the ever-increasing use of technology in Indiana’s courtrooms, the importance of understanding the limitations provided in Indiana Administrative Rule 14 cannot be overstated. In the vast majority of CHINS/TPR transcripts I read, for example, the dictates of Admin. Rule 14 have not been followed.
What is Administrative Rule 14? It provides courts the option, in some circumstances, to conduct proceedings by telephone or audiovisual communications. It also allows parties or witnesses in specific settings to appear by telephone or audiovisual communication.
Here is a summary of the rule, in chart form.
If consent to appear by telephone or video is required but not obtained by all parties, then the court can permit such appearance only as follows:
(1) either a party or the trial court must make a motion for such appearance;
(2) notice of the motion must be provided to all parties at least 30 days prior to the proposed telephonic/audiovisual appearance;
(3) any objection to appearance by telephone or audiovisual communications must be made in writing and filed no later than 7 days after service of the motion;
(4) any hearing on whether good cause exists to permit telephonic/audiovisual appearance must be held no later than 10 days before the proposed testimony; and
(5) the court must make written findings and conclusions regarding whether good cause exists to permit such an appearance. The rule lists several factors the court must consider in determining whether there is good cause, but the court is not limited to consideration of only those factors.
The timeline above may be altered, but only upon a timely motion and for cause.
If the steps above are not taken and all of the parties do not consent to a party or witness appearing by telephone or audiovisual means, the party or witness is prohibited from doing so.
In the event, whether authorized under Section (A) or (B), the trial court does allow for either telephone or audiovisual communications during a proceeding, Admin. Rule 14 requires the following regarding the minimal technical facilities/equipment:
(1) the facility and equipment must allow counsel to confer privately with the out-of-court party or other counsel before, during, and after the proceeding;
(2) all participants must be able to view and/or converse with each other simultaneously;
(3) there must be the capacity for contemporaneous transmission of documents and exhibits;
(4) the audiovisual equipment must be in color and of such quality as to allow all parties to observe the demeanor and nonverbal communication of other parties; and
(5) the telephone or audiovisual communications must be of sufficient quality to allow easy listening and/or viewing.