ILNews

Court decides Carmel annexation case

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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Carmel has another appellate win on the issue of annexation after an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling today.

The state's second-highest appellate court decided that the city adequately proved it could afford to annex part of a nearby community into its municipal borders, and that a Hamilton County judge erred in auditing a financial plan and ruling in favor of the remonstrators.

The unanimous decision in City of Carmel v. Certain Home Place Annexation Territory Landowners, No. 29A04-0510-CV-578, comes not even a month after a three-judge appellate panel heard arguments in the case Sept. 18.

Arguments had been halted for almost a year as the Indiana Supreme Court considered a similar annexation case involving the same city and trial judge, and the court dug into Home Place again after the justices decided the other case this summer.

This suit involves the attempted annexation of historic Home Place, a 1.6-square mile area centered at 106th Street and College Avenue that involves more than 2,200 property owners. Nearly three-quarters of the property owners remonstrated against the annexation because of higher taxes. In a 2005 decision, Hamilton Superior Judge William Hughes ruled that despite Carmel's submission of a fiscal plan outlining how it would pay for the annexation, the city did not prove it could afford to provide services to the area.

During arguments, attorneys debated how much authority a trial judge has to determine credibility of what's in a fiscal plan, especially when opposing expert witnesses point to conflicting information.

Judge Hughes determined the fiscal plan's statement that "other available revenues" would be used to pay for the annexation was not sufficient

In writing for the majority, Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote, "Carmel met its burden of proving the statutory prerequisite that the fiscal plan must show 'the method or methods of financing the planned services.' The trial court's judgment to the contrary is akin to a judicial audit and constitutes clear error."

The court relied on past rulings from the Indiana Supreme Court, including a June decision involving a Carmel annexation of another area in Southwest Clay Township. Justices reversed the trial ruling - also of Judge Hughes - and allowed the annexation to proceed, and distinguished between signing a remonstrance and opposing an annexation.

"At the end of the day, it is apparent Carmel has made credible and enforceable commitments to provide equivalent services to Home Place," Judge Vaidik wrote in today's opinion.
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  1. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  2. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

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