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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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