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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. Ah yes... Echoes of 1963 as a ghostly George Wallace makes his stand at the Schoolhouse door. We now know about the stand of personal belief over service to all constituents at the Carter County Clerk door. The results are the same, bigotry unable to follow the directions of the courts and the courts win. Interesting to watch the personal belief take a back seat rather than resign from a perception of local power to make the statement.

  2. An oath of office, does it override the conscience? That is the defense of overall soldier who violates higher laws, isnt it? "I was just following orders" and "I swore an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer" etc. So this is an interesting case of swearing a false oath and then knowing that it was wrong and doing the right thing. Maybe they should chop her head off too like the "king's good servant-- but God's first" like St Thomas More. ...... We wont hold our breath waiting for the aclu or other "civil liberterians" to come to her defense since they are all arrayed on the gay side, to a man or should I say to a man and womyn?

  3. Perhaps we should also convene a panel of independent anthropological experts to study the issues surrounding this little-known branch of human sacrifice?

  4. I'm going to court the beginning of Oct. 2015 to establish visitation and request my daughters visits while she is in jail. I raised my grandchild for the first two and half years. She was born out of wedlock and the father and his adopted mother wantwd her aborted, they went as far as sueing my daughter for abortion money back 5mo. After my grandchild was born. Now because of depression and drug abuse my daughter lost custody 2 and a half years ago. Everyting went wrong in court when i went for custody my lawyer was thrown out and a replacment could only stay 45 min. The judge would not allow a postponement. So the father won. Now he is aleinating me and my daughter. No matter the amount of time spent getting help for my daughter and her doing better he runs her in the ground to the point of suicide because he wants her to be in a relationship with him. It is a sick game of using my grandchild as a pawn to make my daughter suffer for not wanting to be with him. I became the intervener in the case when my daughter first got into trouble. Because of this they gave me her visitation. Im hoping to get it again there is questions of abuse on his part and I want to make sure my grandchild is doing alright. I really dont understand how the parents have rights to walk in and do whatever they want when the refuse to stand up and raise the child at first . Why should it take two and a half years to decide you want to raise your child.The father used me so he could finish college get a job and stop paying support by getting custody. Support he was paying my daughter that I never saw.

  5. Pence said when he ordered the investigation that Indiana residents should be troubled by the allegations after the video went viral. Planned Parenthood has asked the government s top health scientists at the National Institutes of Health to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.

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