ILNews

Court rules on prison disciplinary action case

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A divided Indiana Supreme Court issued a ruling on a prison discipline suit Tuesday, with one of the dissenting justices writing that the majority decision removes judicial review and violates both federal and state constitutions.

In Aaron Israel v. Indiana Department of Correction, 46S03-0706-CV-253, justices came down 3-2 on dismissing a case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Authoring Justice Frank Sullivan was joined by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Robert Rucker. Dissenting justices were Ted Boehm and Brent Dickson.

"The majority today expands its view of the sweep of (Indiana Code section 4-21.5-2-5(6)) to eliminate court jurisdiction of any claim tangentially related to prisoner discipline," Justice Boehm wrote, noting a 2005 decision in Blanck v. Indiana DOC that effectively eliminated judicial review on inmate disciplinary actions. "This is contrary to precedent and, I submit, cannot be correct."

Justice Boehm goes on to write that as interpreted by the majority, the statute violates both state and federal constitutions in that it goes against the openness of courts to all people.

"Even if the State's interest in avoiding mass inmate litigation over DOC disciplinary actions is compelling, the majority's reading of the statute insulates even illegal discipline from judicial review and denies access to the courts to assert conventional claims such as Israel's breach of contract," he wrote. "If read this broadly, the statute is not narrowly tailored to vindicate the state's interest."

While Justice Rucker agreed with the majority here, he wrote in a paragraph concurrence that he thinks Blanck was wrongly decided - a reason why he wrote separately.

"But Blanck and the authority on which it rests, is now settled law, namely: the enforcement of prison disciplinary sanctions are not subject to judicial review," he wrote.
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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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