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Appeals court to hear Star appeal on identifying online commenter

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has blocked a court order requiring The Indianapolis Star to disclose the name of an online commenter and will hear further arguments on the matter Tuesday morning.

The court on Friday granted The Star’s request for a stay of a court order in Jeffrey M. Miller, et al. v. Junior Achievement, et al., 49A02-1211-PL-898, that would have required the newspaper to reveal the name of an anonymous online commenter by that day, according to COA spokesman Martin DeAgostino.

Jeffrey Miller, former CEO of Junior Achievement of Indiana, sued multiple parties for defamation and sought to add people who made anonymous comments on news organization websites that ran stories about Miller and Junior Achievement.

The Court of Appeals in February reversed Marion Superior Judge S.K. Reid, who issued an order in 2011 that the news outlets must identify people who posted comments on their websites. The Star appealed whether it had to provide Miller information to help him identify an anonymous commenter. The appellate court ordered the trial court to apply a modified version of the Dendrite test, which comes from New Jersey, under both the federal and state constitutions to determine if Miller satisfied the requirements for obtaining the commenter’s identity.

The trial court again ordered the newspaper to disclose the commenter's identity in October.

Tuesday’s hearing will be at 11 a.m. in the Indiana Supreme Court courtroom.

According to the order issuing the temporary stay and setting the hearing, “In addition to any other issues, the court will expect the parties to address whether the court has jurisdiction to consider the trial court’s discovery order.”

DeAgostino said Judges Elaine Brown, Edward Najam and Rudolph Pyle III will hear Tuesday's appeal.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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