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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.

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  • SCOTUS
    This case raced through the district court and the circuit court and now is a petition for certiorari. https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docketfiles/16-1306.htm
  • 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. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

    2. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

    3. Been on social security sense sept 2011 2massive strokes open heart surgery and serious ovarian cancer and a blood clot in my lung all in 14 months. Got a letter in may saying that i didn't qualify and it was in form like i just applied ,called social security she said it don't make sense and you are still geting a check in june and i did ,now i get a check from my part D asking for payment for july because there will be no money for my membership, call my prescription coverage part D and confirmed no check will be there.went to social security they didn't want to answer whats going on just said i should of never been on it .no one knows where this letter came from was California im in virginia and been here sense my strokes and vcu filed for my disability i was in the hospital when they did it .It's like it was a error . My ,mothers social security was being handled in that office in California my sister was dealing with it and it had my social security number because she died last year and this letter came out of the same office and it came at the same time i got the letter for my mother benefits for death and they had the same date of being typed just one was on the mail Saturday and one on Monday. . I think it's a mistake and it should been fixed instead there just getting rid of me .i never got a formal letter saying when i was being tsken off.

    4. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

    5. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

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