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Judge upholds Delaware County smoking ban

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Delaware Circuit Judge Marianne Vorhees refused to strike down an ordinance passed this summer by the county commissioners that enhanced the county’s smoking ban by prohibiting smoking in bars and private clubs. In her ruling Wednesday, she said those who are unhappy with the ordinance should use the political process to try to change it.

The Delaware County Licensed Beverage Assoc., along with four American Legion posts and Low Bob’s Tobacco, filed a lawsuit against the Delaware County Board of Commissioners and the county health board claiming the enhanced ordinance is unconstitutional under the state and federal constitutions.

The plaintiffs took issue with the evidence relied upon by the county commissioners to pass the ordinance. Vorhees found that the commissioners had reliable scientific evidence on which to base their conclusion that secondhand smoke causes disease in nonsmokers and that the public interest would be served by eliminating secondhand smoke in public places.

The judge noted in her order that the Delaware County Health Department provided evidence showing no bar/restaurant had gone out of business since the ordinance’s effective date, and that in fact, 21 new restaurants had opened in the county since the ordinance went into effect, with eight of those serving alcohol.

Vorhees saw the issue as ultimately a political one. She wrote if people aren’t satisfied with the decisions made by the county commissioners, they can use the political process to change or repeal the ordinance. She then pointed out she wasn’t advocating that voters remove any of the commissioners because they passed the ordinance.

“This Court will decline to find the ordinance at issue unconstitutional … But the Court hopes Plaintiffs will seek review by a higher court. The appellate courts in Indiana have not addressed this issue. These courts may see the issue in a different light from the trial court,” she wrote.

 

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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