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License revocations stayed for now

January 1, 2008
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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