Federal judge denies declaratory judgment to former Supreme Court employee

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A district court judge has officially denied declaratory judgment to a former Indiana Supreme Court employee alleging disability discrimination on the part of state judicial leaders.

Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on Thursday denied Andrew Straw’s motion for declaratory judgment against the state Supreme Court and its various officers, whom Straw said have repeatedly discriminated against him on the basis of his mental and physical disabilities. Straw filed the federal suit Dec. 25 in response to an Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission hearing officer report that recommended the suspension of his law license.

Magnus-Stinson declined to intervene in the disciplinary proceedings against Straw and instead entering a show cause order as to why final judgment should not be entered. Under the doctrine of Younger v. Harris, 401 E.S. 37 (1971), the chief judge wrote that she was required to dismiss the case because federal courts are not permitted to interfere with state proceedings that are judicial in nature, involve important state interests, provide an adequate opportunity to raise federal claims and do not contain special circumstances that would make abstention inappropriate.

The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Straw’s law license for 180 days without automatic reinstatement, effective Tuesday.

In her Thursday order, Magnus-Stinson wrote that although Straw’s reply briefs ignored the Supreme Court’s Younger arguments in response to his motion for preliminary injunction, he attempted to extensively reject those arguments in response to the district court’s show cause order.

“Mr. Straw’s arguments are instead akin to a motion to reconsider, but motions to reconsider ‘are not replays of the main event,’” Magnus-Stinson wrote. “Put another way, reconsideration ‘is not an appropriate forum for … arguing matters that could have been heard during the pendency of the previous motion.”

In an email to the Indiana Lawyer, Straw said he had filed for appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.


    This case raced through the district court and the circuit court and now is a petition for certiorari.
  • Timing is almost everything
    Ok attorney Straw ... if that be a good idea ... And I am not saying it is ... but if it were ... would that be ripe prior to her suffering an embarrassing remand from the Seventh? Seems more than a tad premature here soldier. One putting on the armor should not boast liked one taking it off.
  • Straw v. Magnus-Stinson
    The judge thinks that she is so cute to deny jurisdiction, but without jurisdiction, she loses her immunity. She did not give me any due process hearing or any discovery, like the Middlesex case provided for that lawyer. Because she has refused to protect me and she has no immunity because she rejected jurisdiction, I am now suing her in her district.

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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., 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.