ILNews

Judge sees shift in 'constitutional jurisprudence' in protected speech cases

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A separate concurring opinion by a Court of Appeals judge describes what he calls "a fundamental shift in Indiana's constitutional jurisprudence."

Judge James S. Kirsch made his statements in the unanimous, 3-0 opinion today in Latoya A. Blackman v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0610-CR-893, which involves a woman convicted of disorderly conduct in 2005 for yelling, swearing, and non-compliant behavior toward police officers during a vehicle narcotics search of the car in which she was riding.

The court ruled that Blackman's arrest for disorderly conduct did not violate the law and that her speech was not considered political speech protected by the constitution.

While concurring, Judge Kirsch noted, "I write separately only to note what I believe is a fundamental shift in Indiana's constitutional jurisprudence."

He voiced disagreement with recent cases following a landmark ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court in Price v. State, 622 N.E. 2d 957 (1993), which held that protections were afforded to similar type speech. Since then, the state's justices in January decided J.D. v. State, 859 N.E.2d 341 (Ind. 2007), which held that speech - albeit political - was not entitled to constitutional protection where it consisted of "persistent loud yelling over and obscuring of [the arresting officer's] attempts to speak and function as a law officer." This was an abuse of free speech, the court wrote.

"Without regard to whether J.D. is the death knell of Price and Indiana's independent constitutional jurisprudence, Blackman's speech here falls within that determined to be abusive by the Court in J.D.," he wrote. "Accordingly, I concur in the majority's decision."
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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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