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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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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