ILNews

Judge crosses out cell tower dispute

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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A federal suit is going back to Jeffersonville to decide whether a wireless carrier can put up a cell tower disguised as a Baptist church cross.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker Thursday remanded the case Sprint Spectrum v. City of Jeffersonville Board of Zoning Appeals, No. 4:05-cv-00154-SEB-WGH, issuing a final judgment and denying cross-motions for summary judgment from both parties. The nearly three-year-old suit was filed in the Southern District of Indiana New Albany Division.

Sprint wanted to build a "stealth facility" that would hide a cell phone tower and equipment inside a large cross on a Baptist church, something it deemed inoffensive to the church membership and less obtrusive for the neighborhood. The wireless carrier claimed it needed the tower because of inadequate service in Jeffersonville, but the board had denied a previous request for a special zoning exception in a different location and then denied the second request after public hearings in 2005.

Appealing that second decision, Sprint argued the city board had violated the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that was designed in part to limit local governments from unfairly restricting growth of wireless communications through local regulation.

Sprint contended that the board didn't issue a "written decision" as required by the federal law, and both sides filed cross-motions arguing that neither presented enough evidence to proceed. Judge Barker cited a lack of evidence and "he said, she said"-style claims from both sides throughout the process.

"Our analysis causes us to conclude that neither party has fully met its obligations here, and that, indeed, the record is far too meager to support a judicial determination for either side," Judge Barker wrote. "In the final analysis, Sprint must provide a more convincing record to support its need for the exception it has requested. Including a more convincing case that it lacks reasonable alternatives to correct the transmission and coverage problems. As for the Board, it too must lay out its findings and conclusions in a way that explains the insufficiencies it has found in the application before it."
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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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