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Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter summary being questioned

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A case summary printed in The Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter earlier this year is at issue in a Lake County courtroom, where a judge is considering whether the publisher should be held in contempt for writing about a school negligence case three months after the verdict.

The April edition of the monthly publication - published in Indiana since February 2000 - included an outline of a case involving the family of Neal Boyd IV, who had sued Gary Community Schools for not protecting their 16-year-old son from being fatally shot at school in 2001 by a then-17-year-old. In January a jury found against the school and awarded Boyd's parents nearly $4 million. The school corporation asked Superior Judge Diane Kavadias Schneider to limit the award and appealed the jury verdict, which is pending.

Kentucky-based publisher Shannon Ragland wrote the front page article under the category of school negligence, reporting information he said was gleaned from public court files and motions included in the case - references to medical information and criminal history of the victim.

After the publication came out, the Boyds claimed the printed information was false and not allowed to be heard at trial, according to Ragland. The couple wants Ragland held in contempt, but he says all information printed came from public court documents.

"I'm not sure of any publisher who's been subject to indirect contempt matters for what they wrote about a civil jury trial after it was concluded," he said. "This was over, there was no issue of affecting the outcome of this case.

"More importantly, the issue here may be if (as a reporter) how limited you are to what you can report on?" he said. "They say I shouldn't have printed something excluded at trial but that was from a motion in limine. That doesn't apply to a newspaper - only to the case."

An indirect contempt hearing in Hammond Thursday gave jurisdiction of the issue to Superior Judge Gerald Svetanoff as a special judge, as required by statute. He is considering the contempt charge.
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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

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