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Judges halt enforcement of challenged laws

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Two federal judges issued preliminary injunctions June 24 preventing parts of two new controversial laws regarding immigration and funding of Planned Parenthood of Indiana from being enforced.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted two of the three preliminary injunctions Planned Parenthood of Indiana and other plaintiffs sought regarding House Enrolled Act 1210. The law prohibits any entity that performs an abortion – with an exception for hospitals – to receive state funding for health services unrelated to abortion. That provision went into effect when signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels on May 10. The plaintiffs also challenged the informed consent information that abortion providers have to give to patients – a fetus can feel pain before 20 weeks of gestation and human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm.

In the 44-page decision in Planned Parenthood of Indiana Inc., et al. v. Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, et al., No. 1:11-CV-630, Judge Pratt addressed the plaintiffs’ arguments relating to the “freedom of choice” provision in the Medicaid statute and whether the defunding provision is preempted by federal law. She found the plaintiffs established a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of the “freedom of choice” argument and on the preemption argument as it relates to Disease Intervention Services grants PPIN receives from the state Department of Health to test for sexually transmitted diseases.

“HEA 1210 has already affected PPIN in tangible ways. HEA 1210 has and will continue to dramatically affect PPIN’s operations,” wrote Judge Pratt, citing PPIN’s estimates it will have to close seven health centers and lay off 37 positions if the law stands. “These circumstances warrant granting a preliminary injunction.”

Regarding the language abortion providers must use, Judge Pratt ruled against the plaintiffs on the argument that “human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm” violates their First Amendment rights. She did rule in favor of the plaintiffs on their argument that telling clients that the fetus feels pain at 20 weeks or earlier would constitute impermissible compelled speech.

The same day Judge Pratt released the Planned Parenthood decision, Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued a preliminary injunction in Ingrid Buquer, et al. v. City of Indianapolis, et al., No. 1:11-CV-708, in favor of the three immigrants residing in central Indiana who sued to stop enforcement of two provisions of Senate Enrolled Act 590. The new law amended statute to allow state and local law enforcement officers to make a warrantless arrest of a person when the officer has a removal order issued for the person by an immigration court, a detainer, or notice of action issued for the person by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or has probable cause to believe the person has been indicted for or convicted of one or more aggravated felonies. The law also creates a new infraction for any person other than a police officer who knowingly or intentionally offers or accepts a consular identification card as a valid form of ID for any purpose.

Although this law has not yet taken effect and the plaintiffs haven’t suffered a direct injury based on the law, they have established that they will be subject to arrest if and when the law takes effect. Section 19, regarding the warrantless arrest, is susceptible to only one interpretation – it authorizes the warrantless arrest of persons for matters and conduct that are not crimes. This contravenes the Fourth Amendment, so this section would be unconstitutional, wrote Judge Barker. She also found this section is preempted by federal law.

She ruled Section 18, dealing with the consular identification cards, appears to directly interfere with the rights bestowed on foreign nationals by treaty.

“Although we do not dispute that the stated purpose of ensuring the reliability of identification of individuals with the state and preventing fraud against the state is a legitimate governmental purpose, the breadth of the limitation imposed by Section 18, to wit, preventing any person (other than a police officer) from either knowingly presenting or accepting a CID as a valid form of identification for any purpose far exceeds its stated purpose and therefore is not rational,” she wrote.

The plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm if a preliminary injunction is not issued, Judge Barker ruled, and she said the injunction is in the public interest. The judge preliminarily enjoined the defendants from enforcing sections 18 and 19 of the new law until further order of the court.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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