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COA: annexation detailed summary sufficient

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Ruling on the issue of whether or not a city's "detailed summary" of a fiscal plan followed statutory notice requirements, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed judgment today in favor of the city in a suit filed by remonstrators.

In Gary West, et al. v. The City of Princeton, No. 26A01-0806-CV-280, Gary West and other residents of a parcel of land Princeton was looking to annex challenged the approval of annexation by the Princeton Common Council. The remonstrators filed for summary judgment in their remonstrance action; the trial court denied it and entered judgment in favor of Princeton following a bench trial.

On appeal, West and others claimed Princeton failed to strictly comply with the relevant notice statute, Indiana Code Section 36-4-3-2.2, and that the trial court judgment is clearly erroneous in several respects.

The remonstrators argued they didn't receive a "detailed summary" of the fiscal plan as is required under statute. The notice sent to homeowners included information about what services Princeton would provide to homeowners, when they would begin paying property taxes to the city, and that a copy of the fiscal plan could be inspected at the Clerk-Treasurer's office or sent to a landowner on request.

In a footnote, Judge Cale Bradford wrote that the legislature didn't define "detailed summary" in this context, and in the court's view, the precise meaning will vary greatly depending on context. But the clear purpose of the statute is to put the affected landowners on notice of the city's proposed annexation, so the detailed summary need only be detailed enough to further that purpose, wrote the judge. The detailed summary in this case does that, providing services information and allowing them to receive or inspect a copy upon request. In addition, the remonstrators don't argue they were ever denied access to the full fiscal plan or how a denial would have prevented them from knowing about the annexation.

The Court of Appeals also affirmed the trial court's judgment followed Indiana Code Section 36-4-3-13, which governs the approval or denial of proposed annexation facing a challenge.

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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