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Court orders BMV to hold hearing on whether felon can get ID

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A federal judge has found a convicted felon’s due process clause claim “has teeth” and that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles must determine whether to issue the man an identification card even though his last name on his birth certificate and Social Security card do not match.

Joesph A. Worley filed a lawsuit for declaratory and injunctive relief after the BMV refused to issue him a photo ID under the name he uses. His birth certificate says “Joseph Alan Ivey” but after his mother married his biological father a year later, the Social Security card issued to Worley said “Joesph A. Worley.” He has used that name ever since.

He had been issued a license in the past – it was suspended in the mid-1990s on two occasions for drunken-driving offenses. He was convicted of felony drunk driving in 2007 when he did not have a valid license. In 2011, he attempted to obtain a photo ID and then driver’s license from the BMV. The agency initially refused because the name on his documents didn’t match. Later in the year, he did obtain a photo ID and then a driver’s license, but the BMV shortly thereafter sent a letter seeking he return the license because they were “improperly issued.”

Worley said in his suit that he has not filed for a name change with the courts because of the cost.

“We conclude that his claim was intended to redress Defendant’s conduct, which has effectively impeded his ability to vote, marry, or adopt his natural child,” Judge Sarah Evans Barker wrote in the Oct. 9 order. “The importance of these basic, community-oriented functions cannot be overstated. Thus, we concluded that Mr. Worley’s argument that he has ‘a reasonable expectation [to] be issued a photographic identification card so that he can participate in our democracy on equal terms with other qualified citizens’ has teeth.”

Barker noted that two cases pending on appeal deal with a similar issue, in which two Marion County courts have read I.C. 34-28-1-1 in conjunction with 34-28-2-1 to bar the plaintiffs’ otherwise legitimate petitions for a name change.

“The prescribed state law remedy, although generally acceptable, fails to afford Mr. Worley full protection for important interests,” she wrote.

Barker ordered the BMV to conduct an evidentiary hearing before the Nov. 6 elections. She acknowledged the state agency’s interest in trying to prevent voter fraud, and that at the hearing, it can decide whether Worley’s conduct is fraudulent or otherwise improper.

The case is Joesph A. Worley v. R. Scott Waddell, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 1:10-CV-1259.

 

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

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