Indiana Supreme Court
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste. 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Lilia G. Judson, Esq.
Interim Chief Administrative Officer
Indiana's Administrative Rules and Indiana's other Rules of Court can all be found in the "Law Library" section of our website. You can access the Rules of Court page from any page on our website through the menu at the top of every page. Move your mouse over the "Law Library" menu item, and additional menu options will appear below it. Among these options is a link to the "Rules of Court" where you can access each of Indiana's rules in webpage, Microsoft Word, or Adobe PDF formats.
For your convenience, here is a direct link to Administrative Rule 7: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/rules/admin/.
The most recent amendment to the Administrative Rules affecting retention schedules became effective on January 1, 2006. View the Order Amending Administrative Rules (PDF).
Five changes were made by this amendment, as listed below:
|05-2-34||Forensic Diversion Program||2004 - +||destroy 6 years after release of individual from final discharge.|
|05-9-06||Documentation supporting juror disqualifications, exemptions, and deferrals||2003 - +||retain for a minimum of two (2) years.|
|05-9-07||Digital Master created in accordance with Administrative Rule 6||2005 - +||deposit digital master (regardless of medium [used for generation of microfilm]) with the Indiana Archives and Records Administration Vault for security backup.|
|87-2-21.1R||Dismissed Criminal Felony Case Files||9/1881 - +||destroy 2 years after order to dismiss is given.|
|05-2-34||Dismissed Misdemeanor Case Files||9/1881||destroy 1 year after order to dismiss is given.|
Administrative Rule 7 was created by the Supreme Court's Records Management Committee in 1985 and became effective January 1, 1988. From November 4, 1985 through December 31, 1987, compliance with the rule was voluntary. Prior to the creation of Judicial Retention Schedules, Trial Courts and Clerks disposed of records through their County Records Commission, which was established in 1939.
Yes, the language of Administrative Rule 7 makes it mandatory:
Section I. "A" states:
A. Authority to Dispose of Records. Clerks of Circuit Court, Judges and other court officers shall dispose of records in the manner set out in this Rule and in accordance with the retention schedules specified herein. The retention schedules set out in this Rule should be presented to the appropriate county records commission, one time only for informational purposes, before disposal of the records.
Exceptions to the rule are very limited:
Section I. A. allows for exemptions in special circumstances:
"Prior to disposal of judicial records not listed on this schedule, or if special circumstances necessitate the retention or disposal of judicial records in a manner not set forth in this Rule, a circuit court clerk, judge or other officer of the court must seek written authorization from the Division of State Court Administration to maintain or destroy such records."
The trial court, clerk, or court agency, in order to retain or dispose of records outside of the scope of Administrative Rule 7, must provide in writing to the Division of State Court Administration, stating what records require an exemption, the volume of records to be exempted, and specific reasons for seeking an exemption. The Division will weight cost, space needs and other factors in considering an exemption.
Admin Rule 7 applies retention periods for records; while Admin Rule 6 applies standards regarding the physical format of court records.
Administrative Rule 7 applies to court information, regardless if that information is created, maintained, or stored in paper format, in microform, or electronically. Use of microfilming or scanning to bypass application of Administrative Rule 7 is not permitted. Administrative Rule 7(B) states:
B. Records Authorized to Be Microfilmed. Records which call for microfilming under this Rule must be microfilmed in accordance with the provisions of Administrative Rule 6. The following are the only record series which are authorized to be microfilmed:
(1) Records whose retention requires microfilming;
(2) Records which may be maintained in original or microform, as provided in the retention schedules;
(3) Records which must be retained permanently, as provided in the retention schedules;
(4) Before disposal or transfer of records deemed permanent under subsections (1), (2), and (3), the court or clerk shall submit to the Division of State Court Administration a written request for such disposal or transfer. The Division shall audit each microfilmed record series for compliance with Administrative Rule 6, in documentation, legibility and storage environment and, upon audit, shall authorize such disposal or transfer of papers and ledgers meeting the standards of Administrative Rule 7. Microfilming other records is not authorized because the cost of microfilming exceeds the costs of storage for the duration of the retention period. If special circumstances arise, a circuit court clerk, judge, or other officer of the court may seek written authorization from the Division of State Court Administration to microfilm records other than those herein authorized.
Administrative Rule 7(C) permits a transfer, under the following conditions:
C. Records Authorized for Transfer. With the written approval of the Indiana Supreme Court, records authorized for transfer to the Archives Division of the Indiana Commission on Public Records may be deposited by said Commission with a local repository, such as a historical society, library, archives, or university, as designated by the Commission and meeting the archival standards of the Commission.
The schedules are arranged by type of jurisdiction and not by court.
The list of retention schedules is arbitrarily arranged by type of jurisdiction and not by court, since jurisdictions overlap from court to court with original, concurrent and exclusive jurisdictions. Different courts in different counties can exercise the same jurisdiction. The date of "1790" means that the record potentially could date from the formation of the county.
A retention schedule number, such as 85-4.3-04, is designed as a unique number to provide the following: the year of adoption of the schedules (1985), the jurisdiction (4.3, or family law/adoptions), and the record series item (04). As new record retention schedules are added, additional numbers will be assigned. If a series is amended, it will be followed by an "R" for "revised." The jurisdictions, which can be the same for a number of courts, are classified as:
See Section (10) of Administrative Rule 7, "Trial Rule 77 Schedules." Currently, the same time frame for such records created after 1990 are applied as for those records created before that date.
Admin Rule 7 does not cover "three-dimensional" evidence.
Evidence admitted into court falls into two broad categories: the first grouping includes paper or photos that can be made a part of the physical court file. For example, a claim for money usually includes the bill for services, which is attached to the complaint. The second category is that of "three-dimensional" evidence, such as oversized or enlarged photographs, charts, property, drugs, weapons, and the like. Also frequently included in criminal cases are biologically contaminated evidence, which can be used for DNA testing. Administrative Rule 7 does not address retention of three-dimensional evidence. Returning to the submitter or disposal of such evidence rests with the trial court through order or local rule.
Non-judicial records are not covered under Admin Rule 7.
Administrative Rule 7 addresses only court records. Fiscal and non-judicial records are covered through the Indiana Archives and Records Administration and the county commission on public records.
Records listed in Admin Rule 7 are not petitioned before the county records commission.
Records specifically listed in Administrative Rule 7 do not go before the county or state commissions on public records. The specific retention schedule in Admin Rule 7 speaks to the length of time a record must be kept, and no additional procedures or forms are needed to implement Administrative Rule 7, unless court records are microfilmed or scanned. In these situations, notice and authorization from the Division of State Court Administration is required on the appropriate form found on the Supreme Court's web site.
Admin Rule 7, nor any state statute governs how records are to be destroyed.
Administrative Rule 7 and state statute do not address how records are to be destroyed. This office recommends that court records be destroyed under supervision of the clerk's office so that records do not reappear for sale. Confidential records must be destroyed in a manner which guarantees their confidentiality.
Disposal of records must follow Admin Rule 7 unless ordered returned.
See question 5 for disposal of records to local or state institutions. The Division notes that when a case is filed in court, that filing becomes part of the official record of that court and thus a court record, losing any proprietary right for the filer. To return pleadings to the one filing them begs the issue of which pleadings belong to which litigant and which belong to the court. Unless ordered by the court that a case be returned to the filer, it would be an administrative problem to divvy up pleadings in a case to return such to the filer.
Records created wholly by the court or clerk must be destroyed according to the retention schedule. The Division recommends that unless a court orders otherwise, in a specific case, all records are to be destroyed following the appropriate schedule established by Admin Rule 7.