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COA rules on 'In God We Trust' plate suit

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Not charging an administrative fee for Indiana's "In Got We Trust" license plates doesn't violate the state constitution, affirmed the Indiana Court of Appeals today in an unpublished decision.

In Mark Studler v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Ronald L. Stiver, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana BMV, No. 49A02-0804-CV-385, Mark Studler appealed the trial court order denying his motion for summary judgment and granting the Indiana BMV's motion for summary judgment. The suit stems from Studler having to pay $40, including a $15 administrative fee, to get an "Environment" license plate. Studler claimed not charging an administrative fee for the "In God We Trust" license plate, but charging a fee for the purchase of a special group recognition license plate, violated Article I, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution. In his suit, Studler wanted the court to either allow him to get the "Environment" license plate without paying additional fees or require the BMV to charge for the "In God We Trust" plate.

The appellate court unanimously affirmed the offering of the "In God We Trust" license plates without the payment of an administrative fee to be constitutional. The Court of Appeals concluded the legislature's classification of license plates as Chapter 25 and non-chapter 25 license plates, under Indiana Code Section 9-18-25, is reasonably related to the inherent characteristics of the plates, and having to pay an administrative fee is uniformly applicable to all Chapter 25 license plates and not applicable to non-chapter 25 plates, such as the "In God We Trust" plate.

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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

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