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Indiana man takes lawyer-admission case to 7th Circuit

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A Fort Wayne man who claims he’s being prevented from becoming an Indiana attorney because of his religious beliefs is asking the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether a lower federal court properly dismissed his case.

Bryan K. Brown filed an opening brief earlier this week with the federal appellate court, contending that the federal courts should be able to decide his constitutional claims even though they relate to action from the Indiana Supreme Court that prevented him from becoming an attorney.

Admitted and in good standing as an attorney in Kansas, Brown filed this suit in the Northern District of Indiana in late 2009 on grounds that he was improperly required to go through the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program and that the Board of Law Examiners and Indiana Supreme Court rejected his admission to the state bar.

He contends that an Indiana law license would allow him use the legal system on behalf of pro-life and other traditional Christian causes through the ArchAngel Institute that he created several years ago, but the BLE determined his application to take the bar exam should be denied and that he can’t seek admission again until 2014. Brown raised two-dozen constitutional arguments against JLAP director Terry Harrell, program psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Bowman, and Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, as well as several others involved in his case.

In March 2011, U.S. Judge Theresa Springmann dismissed Brown’s case and found that precedent prevents her as a federal judge from addressing what was a state-court action prohibiting his admission. She relied on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine that involves two rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court in 1923 and 1983, which together hold federal District courts lack jurisdiction over lawsuits from state-court losers and that any jurisdiction remains solely with the nation’s highest court. In Brown’s case, the SCOTUS has already denied his petition for writ of certiorari.

Judge Springmann relied on 7th Circuit precedent from a decade ago to determine that Brown’s claims are “inextricably intertwined” with the state action and that the federal court doesn’t have jurisdiction to issue a decision on his constitutional claims.

“The Plaintiff is correct that he is not asking the Court directly to review the Indiana Supreme Court’s order. However, the Court cannot allow artful pleading or argument to obscure what the practical effect of any potential judgment would be – a review and modification of the Indiana Supreme Court’s final order,” she wrote.

The judge also dismissed Brown’s other claims based on immunity arguments, finding that the state defendants are entitled to immunity through the 11th Amendment or as witnesses.

Now, Brown is asking the 7th Circuit to overturn Judge Springmann’s ruling and find the Rooker-Feldman doctrine doesn’t apply to his case. Brown raises questions about the scope of the doctrine and the reach of expert witness immunity, based on his contentions that defendants in this case weren’t properly sworn in under oath and therefore are prevented from being dubbed “witnesses” as required by the state.

The state defendants have until mid-August to file response briefs in the appeal.

This is one of three similar suits filed in recent years against the Indiana Supreme Court, Board of Law Examiners, or JLAP relating to how individuals are admitted to practice in this state.

Another case filed by Clarence Carter involved arguments that the state was improperly requiring him to attend law school before sitting for the bar exam, but a Southern District judge and the 7th Circuit have dismissed that suit.

In July 2009, a Porter County woman filed a federal suit against the BLE in Amanda Perdue, et al. v. The Individual Members of the Indiana State Board of Law Examiners, No. 1:09-CV-842, charging that certain questions regarding fitness violate her Americans with Disabilities Act-rights relating to mental health. That case remains pending before U.S. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson in the Southern District, and the arguments that had been scheduled for July 22 have been continued until Aug. 24.


 

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  • Calling other victims of
    the political-correctness-on-steriods movement. If John is correct, I would very much like to network with others who were run through the JLAP and/or BLE pc machinery. www.archangelinstitute.org
  • why denied in the first place
    I still dont understand why Indiana denied Bryan's license in the first place.

    IMO state bar admission should not be a tool of political correctness. This is not the first time this has happened.
    • It is refreshing to see
      that journalistic integrity yet exists. I truly did not think this paper would cover my 7th circuit filing due to political correctness concerns. Good for y'all. More details on my pending appeal at www archangelinstitute dot org or dot com.

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    1. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

    2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

    3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

    4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

    5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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