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Judge: Governor doesn't have to testify in IBM case

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Marion Superior Judge David Dreyer has ruled that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels doesn’t have to testify about his involvement in the cancelled multi-million dollar IBM contract to modernize the state’s welfare system.

In a three-page order Tuesday, the trial judge determined that current evidence in the case doesn’t allow him to determine at this time whether the governor falls under any purported exception in state statute calling for his testimony. As a result, ordering his deposition is precluded until at least the time the parties determine whether that need exists, the judge determined under Indiana Code 34-29-2-1(6).

“On one hand, the statute above clearly precludes a deposition of a sitting governor,” Judge Dreyer wrote. “On the other hand, an exception might be established since it is reasonable to expect any chief executive to have unique personal first-hand knowledge or experience in the management of a project of such magnitude as this IBM contract.”

That law says that discovery is possible if the governor’s testimony isn’t available from another source or if he had first-hand knowledge that can’t be reasonably obtained elsewhere in some less burdensome way, and that it would not significantly interfere with those office’s duties.

The state argued that Daniels delegates day-to-day management of the governor’s office and doesn’t have any “unique substantial knowledge” of that contract, while IBM argues that Daniels took this on as a pet project and his depositions are needed.

This is the latest ruling in the consolidated suit and countersuit of State v. International Business Machines Corp. and IBM v. State, No. 49D10-1005-PL-021451, centering on the 10-year, $1.37 billion contract for the welfare system. The state sued last year trying to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars it paid the company before cancelling the contract in 2009, and the computer giant countersued on breach of contract allegations and argued the state still owes about $100 million.

Judge Dreyer previously ruled that the state must turn over thousands of pages of documents, including emails from the governor and other state officials, relating to that cancelled contract. The state decided not to immediately appeal that ruling about “deliberative” documents and privilege, and the judge held a hearing April 18 to delve into whether the governor and his chief of staff, Earl A. Goode, must appear for depositions.

In granting the state’s motion for protective order against Daniels’ testimony, this ruling means the governor is not required to testify at this time but that Goode isn’t privileged from subpoenas to testify.

Indianapolis attorney Andrew Hull issued a statement on behalf of his client, IBM, in response to the ruling.

“We are pleased that we will be able to question Earl Goode, the governor's top aide, who – presumably acting on behalf of the governor – was deeply involved in the project. But it is unfortunate that we will not be able to question Governor Daniels under oath at this time since he was personally involved from the earliest days of this project and was hands-on concerning project management – even praising IBM's efforts. Governor Daniels repeatedly has pledged transparency in government. The question remains concerning this project: ‘What is he trying to hide?’ We hope to eventually ask that question of Governor Daniels directly.”

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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