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Indiana Supreme Court Extends Trial Courts’ Emergency Tolling Authority

On March 16, 2020, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered trial courts statewide to implement appropriate continuity-of-operations plans for providing essential judicial services consistent with this public health, and to submit to the Court for approval. The Court also issued orders which temporarily modified certain legal procedures.

One of the orders authorized the tolling of all laws, rules, and procedures setting time limits for speedy trials in criminal and juvenile proceedings; public health and mental health matters; all judgments, support, and other orders; and in all other civil and criminal matters before Indiana trial courts. On May 29, 2020, the Court extended that order and now authorizes the tolling of all matters stated above through August 14, 2020.

Criminal Rule 4(B) allows for any defendant who is held in jail on an indictment or an affidavit that moves for an early trial to be discharged if not brought to trial within seventy (70) calendar days from the date of their motion. The only exceptions to that rule are if the delay is caused by the defendant’s act, or if there was not sufficient time to try the defendant within the seventy (70) calendar days because of the congestion of the court calendar. The Court’s May 29 Order, however, extends the tolling allowed for a defendant who files an early-trial demand under Criminal Rule 4(B).

The Court’s May 29 Order stated that early-trial demands filed under Indiana Criminal Rule 4(B) before April 3, 2020, shall be tolled from April 3, 2020, through August 14, 2020, and shall be further subject to congestion of the court calendar or locally existing emergency conditions. Further, any early-trial demands filed after April 2, 2020, and before August 15, 2020, the motion shall be deemed to have been made on and before August 15, 2020, and shall also be further subject to congestion of the court calendar or locally existing emergency conditions for good cause shown.

To clarify, this Court Order means that the first day of the seventy (70) day time period in which an early-trial must occur does not start until August 14, 2020, for early-trial demands filed any time after April 3, 2020.

The Court’s May 29 Order also listed a few expiration dates for some of the previous orders they have issued since March 16, 2020, due to COVID-19. Unless further extended by order of the Court, the prohibition on issuing or serving writs of attachment, civil bench warrants, or body attachments pursuant to Trial Rule 64 expires at 12:01 a.m. on August 15, 2020.

Additionally, unless further extended by order of this Court, the orders issued regarding attachment and garnishment of CARES Act stimulus funds, allowing remote administration of oaths for depositions and other legal testimony, allowing modified procedures for witnessing wills, and expanding use of remote proceedings expires at 12:01 a.m. on January 2021.

If you have any questions about the Indiana Supreme Court’s Order regarding early-trial demands and are looking for legal advice, please call the attorneys at Massillamany, Jeter & Carson at (317) 576-8580. We offer free consultations via phone, video, or in-person.