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Hundreds gather for rally against Indiana Supreme Court ruling

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Nearly 300 people gathered on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse Wednesday, many calling for the recall of Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven H. David. Justice David authored the recent high court ruling that held individuals don’t have the right to resist police who enter their home, even if those entries are illegal.

The "Stand Up for Your Fourth Amendment Rights" rally began at noon. Attorneys and lawmakers were scattered throughout the crowd as speakers voiced opinion about the recent 3-2 decision from state justices and offered history on the United States and Indiana constitutions. Speakers encouraged those present to get involved in the civic process and be heard.

Dozens of people made signs or banners displaying messages such as “No Police State” and “Don’t Tread On Me.” Others focused on the Fourth Amendment prohibition against illegal search and seizure. Some waved American flags and copies of the U.S. Constitution throughout the rally, and some urged the recall of Justice David.

The ruling in Richard L. Barnes v. State of Indiana, No. 82S05-1007-CR-343, held that a person can use the legal system for redress against unlawful police action rather than resorting to violence in the heat of the moment. Justice David wrote for the majority that included Chief Justice Randall Shepard and Justice Frank Sullivan.

Since the ruling was handed down May 12, the Indiana State Bar Association and Indianapolis Bar Association have issued statements encouraging people to react reasonably, while the state Senate and House of Representatives leadership have encouraged the court to rehear the case and issue a more narrow decision. The Indiana attorney general’s office also supports a rehearing.  Evansville attorney Erin Berger, who represented Barnes, plans to ask for a rehearing and is prepared to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene.

Several politicians have said they plan to introduce legislation as soon as possible to overturn this ruling and beef up the state’s self-defense law. Two lawmakers – Sen. Brent Waltz, R-Greenwood, and Rep. Mike Speedy, R-Indianapolis – attended the protest but didn’t speak.

More than 1,800 people signed up on Facebook in support of the rally, expressing outrage about the decision, but estimates indicate approximately 300 participated. Indiana State Capitol Police were visible, due in part to threats reportedly received by phone and email at the Indiana Supreme Court.

Organizers urged everyone attending or watching the protest online to peacefully stand up for their rights. Indiana University student and organizer Stephen Skolnick, 19, of Carmel, said he considered the rally a success because it's drawn attention to the ruling. He said he hopes people remember this issue when voting for legislators or deciding whether appellate jurists should be retained on the ballot.

"While we are going to be peaceful," organizer Emily Veno told the crowd, "we are here today to be loud."

Among the speakers was former "Survivor" cast member Rupert Boneham, who lives in Indianapolis and told the crowd that he’s opposed to the ruling in part because it teaches kids that police are the enemy and not helpful.

A political action committee and a Facebook page have been created with the goal of recalling Justice David, who was appointed to the court last fall by Gov. Mitch Daniels. Justice David will face an initial retention vote in 2012. Rally participants were able to sign a petition calling for the justice’s non-retention.

Indianapolis attorney Paul Ogden attended the rally and said he was encouraged by the number of people who came out, though he isn’t sure if it will result in the first-ever recall of a state justice. He does hope for a narrower ruling, since he doesn’t see this broad decision as necessary. Ogden agrees with Justices Brent Dickson and Robert Rucker, who dissented and would have supported a narrower ruling.

Bloomington attorney Karen Wyle said she had hoped to attend the rally, but was unable to despite her opposition to the ruling. A constitutional rights lawyer, Wyle indicated that she was already uneasy about the court’s direction following an earlier ruling allowing no-knock entries even in situations where police failed to prove the need for an existing factual basis for such an entry. Then came Barnes.

“I am dismayed by the paternalism inherent in the court's conclusion that since defending our homes might be dangerous; we should not be allowed to weigh that danger for ourselves,” she wrote in an email to Indiana Lawyer before the rally. “I am angry that at this moment, in Indiana – if I understand the situation – it is a crime for a citizen to defend his or her home against unlawful invasion by agents of the state.  I heartily disagree with the notion, underlying this decision that the liberties on which this country is founded have become to some extent anachronistic, and should be asserted only after the fact and through elaborate procedures.”

Supreme Court Public Information Officer Kathryn Dolan said that she didn’t know if any of the justices saw the rally, but that a previously scheduled event prevented some of them from being at the Statehouse for most of the day.

 


 

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  • vassals of the state
    We are vassals of the state. The state has replaced the king. We are subjects. Let's get that clear. They hate us because of our freedoms; no WMDs, etc. etc. Keep moving folks, get back to work, the banks need you to bail them out from their next imminent collapse, or else your poverty will get even poorer. Hooray. Cue the marching band.

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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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