ILNews

License revocations stayed for now

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals has temporarily blocked the state from revoking driver's licenses that don't match Social Security records.

The preliminary injunction came June 6 in a case challenging the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles' invalidations of licenses or identification cards on the sole basis of mismatched records.

The decision comes in Lyn Leone, et al. v. Indiana BMV Commissioner, No. 49A02-0804-CV-00377, which is currently pending in the state's second highest appellate court and is at the briefing stage and hasn't yet been assigned to a court writing panel. The order posted online from Chief Judge John Baker includes concurrences from Judges Nancy Vaidik and Terry Crone, and a dissent from Senior Judge John T. Sharpnack.

Last year, the BMV started using the new screening process of comparing records that about 47 other states use, checking about 6 million records and finding about 206,000 mismatches due to typographical errors, people getting married, or changing their names.

Many were resolved, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana challenged the policy and undertook a class-action suit including about 15,332 people who'd lost their licenses or cards or were threatened with that action. The ACLU argued that state law and the U.S. Constitution don't allow the BMV to revoke licenses just because records don't match.

In April, Marion Superior Judge Kenneth Johnson denied an injunction request and held that the BMV had a strong interest in maintaining accurate records to reduce fraud and identify theft. The judge determined the suit failed to show any harm or hardship to the plaintiffs, which includes South Bend attorney Lyn Leone as a lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit.
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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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