Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Indiana Supreme Court Archives

I sucked the Indiana Supreme Court online archive into Acrobat. It only took two hours for Acrobat to get the files and do the necessary conversion. The Court of Appeals' archive took almost eight. It took a while to save the file as well while Acrobat "removed unused objects"--whatever that means.

There are only 9,796 pages, compared with almost 32,500 for the Court of Appeals. The file weighs in at a modest 43 megabytes, compared with 137 MB for the Court of Appeals.

The relative bulks of the archives actually make sense. There are five Supreme Court justices and fifteen judges of the Court of Appeals--plus a senior judge or two. So the Supreme Court's opinion output ought to be about a third of that of the Court of Appeals. Plus the Supreme Court justices only have two clerks--the Chief Justice has three. Court of Appeals judges have three. And then there are the Supreme Court's considerable and wide-ranging administrative responsibilities--everything from supervising the lower courts to attorney admission and discipline to overseeing all of the various court rules.

One may or may not generally like what the Supreme Court does, but I'd say they do a lot of it. And after this little Acrobat exercise, I have a lot less sympathy for what used to be, at least, the complaint from various quarters of the Court of Appeals about its case load.

It has occurred to me that simply leeching single HTML, WordPerfect, or Word files into a single directory so that each case has a separate file might create a local database with more useful search results coming out of something like WordPerfect's indexing capability. Maybe I'll try that next year.

I wish somebody would do something this year about the incredibly time-consuming setup of the online docket. The way you have to keep coming back out to the main menu makes it almost useless for anything but checking a single case at a time.

In the meanwhile, two Blakely cases came down from the Court of Appeals today. More Booker tom-foolery. If you ask the wrong question, you are very likely to get the wrong answer.

The short of it is: Dilts. Blakely is not about judicial discretion; it is about entitlement by a defendant to a particular sentence absent judge-found facts. And the Indiana sentencing statutes do provide for a range that is the equivalent of the range provided by base offense level in the Federal Guidelines. It is not the full range of sentence in the sentencing statutes. It is a point range, namely, the presumptive sentence, beyond which a judge may not go without finding additional facts.

I'll get into details of the cases soon, I hope. But while the prosecutors are Blakelyizing informations, is the Indiana Supreme Court going to Bookerize the sentencing statutes?

Heath? Smylie? Are you out there?

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