ILNews

Judge denies motion to reconsider

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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A federal judge took some time this week to defend a previous decision that dropped Indiana as a defendant in a suit filed by a Fort Wayne man who accuses police, prosecutors, and the Allen Circuit Court of discriminating against him.

Pro se plaintiff Derrick O. Martin asked U.S. District Judge Philip Simon, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, to reconsider the court's ruling from earlier this year. The judge issued a three-page opinion Wednesday denying the request that claimed the court had erroneously described his police encounter as one where he was "roughed up" rather than a full assault and battery as Martin had alleged.

Martin filed a suit in September 2007 alleging that police battered him during an arrest, jail officers intentionally injured him and taunted him with racial slurs, and the prosecutor and courts wrongly discriminated against him because of his race. He asked for $5.5 million in reasonable damages, naming 14 defendants that ranged from the city, state, arresting and correctional officers, to even "Bodo," the police dog involved in his arrest.

The judge ruled in February that the state of Indiana - named after it revoked Martin's license - would be excluded as a defendant because the 11th Amendment doesn't allow non-consenting states to be sued in federal court.

"Reconsideration is not warranted here," the judge wrote. "The only issue before the Court was whether the State of Indiana should be dismissed as a defendant. I did not misunderstand or misapprehend the issues."

The order lists comments from Martin stating, "If Rodney King can sue a state for circumstances I believe are similar, I should be able to do so also ..." and that he views the injuries as being "assault and battery, excessive force, and unconstitutional in the worst way."

The judge added that by stating that Martin had been "roughed up" by police, he "did not intend to diminish the seriousness of, or trivialize, Martin's allegations. In any event, my description or perception of the events at issue had no impact on the legal analysis of this straightforward issue under the Eleventh Amendment."
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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