Supreme Court Names Koch to Innovation Initiative

(STATEHOUSE) — State Senator Eric Koch (R-Bedford) has been appointed to serve as a member of the Indiana Innovation Initiative established by the Indiana Supreme Court.

State Sen. Eric Koch

The 13-member group appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court will work to foster innovation within the legal profession. The Court issued an order establishing the Indiana Innovation Initiative to maintain Indiana’s place as a national leader in legal reform.

“We must actively seek and cultivate opportunities to improve the practice of law and the justice system in Indiana, and that includes welcoming innovation,” explained Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush.

The group will identify opportunities to increase efficiency and accessibility through innovative technology and case management, analysis of reform, and development and testing of pilot programs related to reform. The group will work in tandem with other stakeholders in the legal profession and ultimately provide a written report with findings and recommendations to the Supreme Court by July 1, 2021. The Indiana Office of Court Services will assign staff to assist the Initiative in its work.

Supreme Court Justice Steven David will chair the group, which will initially include two subgroups: the 14-member Family Law Task Force and the 12-member Technology Working Group.

The order establishing the Indiana Innovation Initiative notes that Indiana has been a national leader in justice reform in areas such as evidence-based decision-making, pretrial release, problem-solving courts, and commercial courts, and that additional innovation opportunities now present themselves, designed to make Indiana’s system of justice more efficient, less expensive, and easier to navigate while continuing to ensure that justice is fairly administered and the rights of all litigants are protected.

The Indiana Innovation Initiative will analyze research on justice reform, assess the impact of reform efforts in other states, identify innovative strategies to manage different case types, and make recommendations to the Indiana Supreme Court for best practices surrounding Indiana’s justice system structures and procedures.

The Indiana Innovation Initiative will:

  • Analyze the research on justice reform;
  • Assess the impact of reform efforts in other states;
  • Identify, map, and analyze commonalities and differences in subject matter and process in criminal, civil, family, and child welfare justice systems;
  • Identify innovative strategies, such as technology, to manage different case types;
  • Develop specialized procedures for different types of cases involving differing levels of complexity;
  • Evaluate the potential and actual impacts of specialized procedures;
  • Launch pilot projects to test procedures and determine the scalable value of those procedures;
  • Collaborate with and support the Coalition for Court Access (CCA) in areas where the Initiative’s work overlaps with the CCA’s objectives; and
  • Make recommendations to the Indiana Supreme Court for best practices surrounding Indiana’s judicial system structures and procedures.

In addition to Senator Koch, the following have also been appointed to the Initiative:

  • Magistrate Molly Briles, Vanderburgh Superior Court;
  • Russell Brown, Clark, Quinn, Moses, Scott & Grahn, LLP;
  • Hon. Steven David, Indiana Supreme Court;
  • Mary DePrez, Indiana Office of Judicial Administration;
  • Justin Forkner, Indiana Office of Judicial Administration;
  • John Franklin Hay, Near East Area Renewal;
  • Angka Hinshaw, Marion County Public Defender Agency;
  • Hon. Matthew Kincaid, Boone Superior Court;
  • Jamie Oss, Huelat & Mack;
  • Joseph Skeel, Indiana State Bar Association;
  • Chasity Thompson, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; and
  • Michael Tolbert, Tolbert & Tolbert LLC.

The Family Law Task Force will consider recommendations on more efficient handling of domestic relations matters created by the National Center for State Courts, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Conference of Chief Justices, and the Conference of State Court Administrators. The Technology Working Group will also evaluate business processes and innovative technologies in other jurisdictions, and in commercial enterprise, in preparing its recommendations.

Both the Family Law Task Force and the Technology Working Group will analyze the research on court reform, assess the impact of innovations in other states, identify innovative strategies for significantly improving court processes, and provide a written report with findings and recommendations to the Indiana Innovation Initiative no later than March 1, 2021.

Members of the Family Law Task Force are:

  • Amy Applegate, Indiana University Maurer School of Law;
  • Debra Lynch Dubovich, Levy & Dubovich;
  • Lindsay Faulkenberg, Kids Voice of Indiana;
  • Hon. William Fee, Steuben Superior Court;
  • Leslie Craig Henderzahs, Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim;
  • Michael Jenuwine, Notre Dame Law School;
  • Heather Kestian, Department of Child Services;
  • Kelly Lonnberg, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC;
  • Dr. Jill Miller, Northwest Psychological Services, P.C.;
  • Hon. Lakshmi Reddy, Vigo Superior Court;
  • Marilyn Smith, Indiana Bar Foundation;
  • Hon. Catherine Stafford, Monroe Circuit Court;
  • Tara Tauber, Tauber Law Offices; and
  • Hon. Elizabeth Tavitas, Indiana Court of Appeals, chair.

Members of the Technology Working Group are:

  • Hon. Kimberly Bacon, Lawrence Township Small Claims Court;
  • Josh Brown, Cohen, Garelick, & Glazier PC;
  • Scott J. Shackelford, Indiana University Kelley School of Business and Maurer School of Law;
  • Jared Linder, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration;
  • Robert Rath, Indiana Office of Judicial Administration, chair;
  • Hon. David Riggins, Shelby Superior Court;
  • Hon. Jeffrey Sanford, St. Joseph Superior Court;
  • Roger Schmenner, Indiana University Kelley School of Business;
  • Emily Storm-Smith, Strada Education Network, Inc.;
  • Amitav Thamba, Marion Superior Court;
  • Jeffrey S. Ton, Ton Enterprises LLC; and
  • Seth R. Wilson, Adler Attorneys.

More information on the Innovation Initiative can be found here.

Sen. Koch, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is an attorney with the law firm of Koch & McAuley P.C. and serves Senate District 44, which includes all or parts of Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, Lawrence, and Monroe counties.