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ISBA responds to fallout from split Supreme Court ruling

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The Indiana State Bar Association issued a statement today addressing the outrage being expressed by many people concerning a state Supreme Court decision last week, which held individuals don’t have the right to resist police who enter private residences, even if those entries are illegal.

Justices handed down a 3-2 decision on May 12 in Richard L. Barnes v. State of Indiana, No. 82S05-1007-CR-343. The majority ruled the common-law right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers is no longer recognized in Indiana. Justice Steven David authored the majority opinion, writing 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.  Justices Brent Dickson and Robert Rucker each dissented, believing the opinion went too far and tells Hoosiers that government agents may now enter their homes illegally – without a warrant, consent, or exigent circumstances.

In the week since, national and statewide media coverage has focused on the ruling and public reaction. 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.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller today said he supports a rehearing to allow for a more narrow decision. On appeal, the AG’s office didn’t advocate for this broad of a ruling.

Politicians from both sides of the aisle have reacted and criticized the ruling, saying they’ll sponsor legislation to override it, and a public protest rally is being organized for Wednesday at the Statehouse. As of this morning, more than 1,300 people had signed up on Facebook to attend.

Earlier this week, the court’s public information officer, Kathryn Dolan, said the high court has received threatening calls and emails in response to the ruling. She said those threats were primarily toward police. She declined to provide specific information regarding the number of threats, what the calls or messages said, or how the threats may have impacted day-to-day functions at the court. Dolan said Indiana Capitol Police are investigating.

Today, the ISBA issued a brief two-paragraph statement:
“Everyday our courts issue opinions with which people disagree – even vigorously. While those who disagree with the opinion have a right to criticize it, the Indiana State Bar Association encourages that such criticism be in a respectful manner, excluding personal and inflammatory attacks on individual judges and law enforcement officials,” the statement says.

“Our democracy depends on an independent judiciary supported in the exercise of its constitutional obligation to decide cases fairly and dispassionately. Those decisions must be made according to law, without regard to public pressure and fear of political reprisal. In the coming weeks, the Indiana Supreme Court may be asked to reconsider the decision through a petition for rehearing. The case might also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. These are appropriate means to challenge the decision; threats and personal attacks are not.”

Terre Haute attorney and ISBA President Jeffry Lind said the statement was in direct response to the media reports about potential threats to the judiciary and police, not  because of any specific concerns brought by association members.

 “Attorneys knew these things were happening, and our hope is to not only support free speech but to remind everyone that the legal process has its own legal process. Violence isn’t the answer and not a part of the healthy discourse process we have,” Lind said.

 

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  • Independant
    "Our democracy depends on an independent judiciary supported in the exercise of its constitutional obligation to decide cases fairly and dispassionately."

    The ISBA needs to stop advocating against the people. Judges selected by the state and its politicians need to be accountable to the people. Electing judges in our counties works very well. They are accountable. Without accountability to the people violence will be the peoples only option. Read the Declaration of Independance.

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  1. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  2. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  3. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  4. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  5. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

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