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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. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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