ILNews

Judge denies motion to reconsider

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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A federal judge took some time this week to defend a previous decision that dropped Indiana as a defendant in a suit filed by a Fort Wayne man who accuses police, prosecutors, and the Allen Circuit Court of discriminating against him.

Pro se plaintiff Derrick O. Martin asked U.S. District Judge Philip Simon, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, to reconsider the court's ruling from earlier this year. The judge issued a three-page opinion Wednesday denying the request that claimed the court had erroneously described his police encounter as one where he was "roughed up" rather than a full assault and battery as Martin had alleged.

Martin filed a suit in September 2007 alleging that police battered him during an arrest, jail officers intentionally injured him and taunted him with racial slurs, and the prosecutor and courts wrongly discriminated against him because of his race. He asked for $5.5 million in reasonable damages, naming 14 defendants that ranged from the city, state, arresting and correctional officers, to even "Bodo," the police dog involved in his arrest.

The judge ruled in February that the state of Indiana - named after it revoked Martin's license - would be excluded as a defendant because the 11th Amendment doesn't allow non-consenting states to be sued in federal court.

"Reconsideration is not warranted here," the judge wrote. "The only issue before the Court was whether the State of Indiana should be dismissed as a defendant. I did not misunderstand or misapprehend the issues."

The order lists comments from Martin stating, "If Rodney King can sue a state for circumstances I believe are similar, I should be able to do so also ..." and that he views the injuries as being "assault and battery, excessive force, and unconstitutional in the worst way."

The judge added that by stating that Martin had been "roughed up" by police, he "did not intend to diminish the seriousness of, or trivialize, Martin's allegations. In any event, my description or perception of the events at issue had no impact on the legal analysis of this straightforward issue under the Eleventh Amendment."
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  1. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

  2. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

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