ILNews

7th Circuit affirms, reverses wine ruling

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has recognized Indiana's interest in keeping wine out of minors' hands, ruling that Hoosiers who want to order alcohol online or by phone will have to first make face-to-face contact at a winery to verify their age before being allowed to make the purchase.

The judges also cited the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana's voter ID law in its reasoning.

An 11-page opinion came Thursday afternoon in Patrick L. Baude, et al. v. David L. Heath, Chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, and Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Indiana, Nos. 07-3323 and 07-3338, an appeal that came following an August 2007 ruling by then-U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder in Indianapolis. He ruled that part of the state's 2006 law banning out-of-state wineries from shipping to Indiana customers without face-to-face contact was unconstitutional, finding that the requirement created a trade barrier for wineries by requiring them to set up shop in Indiana or limit their potential market to buyers willing to travel to them.

But the 7th Circuit disagreed with that notion and reinstated the in-person contact rule, noting that the absence of face-to-face age verification made it easier for minors to have wine sent to them. The appellate panel - author Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, and Judges William Bauer and Richard Posner - rejected plaintiffs' arguments that in-person verification by photo ID is ineffective and that online verification is just as effective. Instead, it relied on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana's voter ID law in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 129 S. Ct. 1610 (2008).

"Indiana thinks that in-person verification with photo ID helps to reduce cheating on legal rules, for both buying wine and voting (and perhaps other subjects)," Chief Judge Easterbrook wrote. "After the Supreme Court held ... that a belief that in-person verification with photo ID reduces vote fraud has enough support to withstand a challenge under the first amendment, it would be awfully hard to take judicial notice that in-person verification with photo ID has no effect on wine fraud and therefore flunks the interstate commerce clause."

The 7th Circuit affirmed Judge Tinder on the wholesale-permitting aspect of the law, finding that the wholesale clause protects Indiana's wine wholesalers at the expense of Indiana consumers and out-of-state wineries.

Now, the case is remanded to the federal court in Indianapolis for proceedings consistent with this opinion. Judge Tinder has since been elevated to the 7th Circuit, so a new judge will be assigned to the case. Indiana Lawyer couldn't reach attorneys after the ruling to learn whether a rehearing or higher court review will be requested.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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