Judicial Technology and Automation Committee
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste. 500
Indianapolis, IN  46204

Mary DePrez
Director and Counsel for Trial Court Technology

Pho: 317.234.2604
mary.deprez@courts.in.gov

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JTAC > Initiatives and Programs > Public Defender System Public Defender System

Overview

In 2008, JTAC and the Indiana Public Defender Council struck a partnership to begin the design and development of Indiana Public Defender, a statewide computer system that will be made available to public defenders through the Council.  This system will interface seamlessly with the Odyssey Case Management System that is being implemented by JTAC in trial courts and clerk’s offices throughout the state, which will undoubtedly eliminate several data entry tasks that public defenders and their staff may be performing currently.  More importantly, this system will enhance the sharing of information among these agencies.

In 2009, a list of 150 requirements was compiled, resulting from discussions involving participation by various Indiana public defenders, and representatives of the Indiana Public Defender Council and the Indiana Public Defender Commission.  This list was later prioritized and vetted by members of the Indiana Public Defender Council.

Learn More About the Public Defender System at JTAC's Project Blog

In February 2010, development has commenced on a prototype of the system, the first step in the development process.  Additionally, a Public Defender Working Group was established to provide input to the detailed requirements and system design.  The Working Group is comprised of a broad representation of anticipated users, e.g. full-time public defenders, private attorneys who provide public defense services on a part-time basis, and public defender office administrators.  Members include:

  • Lorinda Youngcourt, Lawrence County Chief Public Defender
  • Curtis Johnson, Shelby County Public Defender
  • Kim Wilgus, Paralegal, Shelby County Public Defender Office
  • Bob Hamilton, Washington County Chief Public Defender
  • Elizabeth Castle, Paralegal, Washington County Public Defender Office
  • Ann Sutton, Chief Counsel, Marion County Public Defender Agency  (Proxy: Kenneth Williams, Investigative Paralegal)
  • Deborah Outcalt, Office Administrator, Office of Monroe County Public Defender
  • Janice Glotzbach, Office Administrator, Floyd County Public Defender Office

The Indiana Public Defender System was deployed in three phases. On September 20, 2010, Floyd and Monroe County Public Defender Offices implemented the application.  The attorneys and their staff were able to access case information from Odyssey through the interface between the two systems, view and print Chronological Case Summaries and view their court calendar as well as incorporate and update their personal calendar within the PDIS application.  In November 2010, Washington County joined Floyd and Monroe counties as a pilot for the PDIS application when the second phase of the application was deployed.  And, on January 24, 2011, the Indiana Public Defender Information System was fully deployed to the three pilot counties.

The Public Defender Council was awarded additional funding through ICJI to support and further enhance the PDIS application.  Statewide deployment of the Public Defender Information System began with Lawrence County on March 2011.  Continued deployment is forthcoming as other Public Defender offices have expressed their interest in implementing the PDIS as their office case management system.

Sample Features

Although one of the most significant features of the Public Defender System will be its ability to interface with the Odyssey Case Management System, several other noteworthy features are planned to be incorporated into the system, including:

  • Notifications and alerts.  Attorneys will be notified of upcoming hearings and alerted in instances in which a client has been rearrested, violates probation conditions, or has open warrants.
  • Attorney assignment.  The system will support assignment of clients to an attorney in a variety of methods, including automatic, manual, or bulk.
  • Calendaring.  Scheduling and calendaring functionality will be offered for attorneys, including conflict checking.
  • Case and client demographic information.  The system will provide access to data maintained in the judicial case management system (Odyssey CMS), as well as enable public defenders to maintain additional information about their clients.
  • Forms and reports.  Public defenders will be able to generate required or essential forms and reports out-of-the-box, such as caseload reports, statistics in case duration, change in pleas and offers, attorney success rates, etc.
  • Witness information tracking.  The system will enable public defenders to tracking information on witness, including interview notes and depositions.
  • Task Assignment. Public Defenders and Office Administrators are able to assign tasks and subtasks to others as well as themselves and track their progress.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about the Public Defender System project, contact LaJuan Epperson at 317-234-2870 or lajuan.epperson@courts.in.gov  or Don Murphy at (317) 232-5515 or dsmurphy@iquest.net.