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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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