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Bill enabling legislators to fight for immigration law in court gets hearing

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State senators who are fighting to go to court to defend parts of Indiana’s immigration law – a law that Attorney General Greg Zoeller concluded could not withstand constitutional scrutiny – will hear a bill Wednesday that would give them the power to defend their measures in such cases.

Senate Bill 280 would allow a bill’s author to intervene in a court case in which the constitutionality or enforcement of legislation is challenged. The bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, will be heard at 9 a.m. Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, in Room 130 of the Statehouse.

Delph and Steele, along with Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, last year filed a motion to intervene in Buquer et al. v. City of Indianapolis et al, 1:11-cv-00708, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, after Zoeller said he could no longer defend portions of the law.

Delph sponsored Indiana’s immigration bill, SB 590, which was enacted in 2011. Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona v. U.S. struck down much of Arizona’s immigration law, which was the model for Indiana’s legislation. As a result, Zoeller said he no longer would defend warrantless arrest provisions in Indiana’s law challenged in Buquer.

The senators argued in court briefs in Buquer that after Zoeller declined to defend the law, Delph, Steele and Boots “remain the only interested parties who are ready and willing to defend their core legislative interests in the full implementation of the duly enacted law.”

The AG’s office says in court motions that state law is clear: The office represents the interests of state government.

“These three individual senators seek to inject themselves into this litigation in their official capacities, in order to espouse their legal views on the issues at hand. The senators have hired private counsel to represent these views to the Court. This is not permitted by Indiana law,” the AG’s office argued in a filing in October.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker has set no further hearing dates in the Buquer case.

“We are supportive of current law that allows the attorney general to determine the legal position the state takes to court and, under certain circumstances, allows for legislative leadership representing the Legislature as a whole to hire outside counsel, but not individual members,” said Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office. “We believe this system has served the state well.”

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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