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AG's office says disputes over legislative rules should not be decided in court

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The Indiana Supreme Court will hear the state's appeal in the lawsuit over collecting fines imposed on absent members of the Legislature. The state's highest court on Friday ruled 4-1 to accept jurisdiction of the interlocutory appeal sought by the Indiana attorney general's office, which represents the state and officials named as defendants in the legislative fines lawsuit, Crawford v. Berry.

In a separate hearing Friday in the same underlying lawsuit, Marion Superior Court Judge David Dreyer heard arguments on the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction but has not ruled yet. The trial court extended a temporary restraining order preventing collection of fines by way of payroll deduction for another 10 days.

The attorney general's office contends that under the separation of powers, a trial court cannot interfere in the business of the Legislature or its internal rules.

"Under our Constitution, disagreements between legislators over legislative rules should be hammered out and decided within the legislative branch, not the judicial branch,” said Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “Because the plaintiffs brought this internal dispute to the trial court, the state now must ask a higher court to send the dispute back to the Legislature where it fundamentally and properly belongs.”

A ruling in the underlying case Crawford v. Berry, originally litigated last year, was being appealed by the state. On Friday, the Supreme Court granted transfer, meaning the interlocutory appeal will be heard there, bypassing the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Zoeller noted that if the Marion Superior Court's eventual ruling on the preliminary injunction motion is appealed by either side, then that appeal also could be heard in the Indiana Supreme Court at its discretion, and the two appeals could be consolidated.


 

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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