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Judges uphold 10-year suspension of driver’s license

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A Porter County man who fought the Bureau of Motor Vehicles' decision to suspend his license for being a habitual traffic violator lost his case before the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Richard Thomas had three qualifying driving convictions within a 10-year period, with the last occurring in May 2008. In December 2011, the BMV notified Thomas that he qualified as a HTV and that his driving privileges would be suspended for 10 years beginning in January 2012.

Thomas sought an administrative review and judicial review of the BMV’s petition; the BMV affirmed his suspension and the trial court denied his petition for review.

Thomas argued that the notice from the BMV was untimely and that a statute of limitations should apply, but he never specified what statutory limitation period should apply. Indiana Code 9-30-10 does not include a statute of limitations, but the court has previously ruled the two-year statute of limitations doesn’t apply. The Court of Appeals concluded, based on a recent Supreme Court decision, that the general 10-year statute of limitations in I.C. 34-11-1-2 applies.

The limitations begin tolling after the third conviction qualifying one as a HTV, not with the first offense, as Thomas argued. The judges also pointed out that it’s up to the General Assembly to decide whether a shorter limitations period is appropriate.

In Richard Thomas v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 64A03-1204-PL-191, the Court of Appeals also rejected Thomas’ claim that the doctrine of laches applies. He argues the suspension would result in extreme unfairness because “in the years since his last qualifying conviction, he has ‘altered his behavior to effectively render himself a safe driver,’” the opinion says.

“However, we are unconvinced by Thomas’s self-serving statement regarding his belief that he has altered his behavior in a manner such to render him a ‘safe driver,’ and conclude that it falls far short of demonstrating that the public interest would be threatened by the BMV’s conduct in the instant matter,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote.

 

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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.

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