Justices explain opinion in IBM case

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Last month, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Mitch Daniels doesn’t have to testify in the dispute between the state and IBM regarding a cancelled contract to modernize the state’s welfare system. On Wednesday, the justices explained their reasoning.

In State of Indiana v. International Business Machines Corporation, No. 49S00-1201-PL-15, the majority focused on Indiana Code 34-29-2-1, which says the governor is “privileged from arrest on civil process, and from obeying any subpoena to testify,” and whether that precludes a trial court from issuing an order to compel the governor’s deposition in this case. Writing for the majority, Justice Robert Rucker found that the statute does preclude Daniels’ deposition.

The state and IBM are locked in a legal battle over the state’s decision to cancel the multi-million dollar contract with IBM to update Indiana’s welfare system. IBM served notice on Daniels to take his testimonial deposition, but the state argued under I.C. 34-29-2-1(6), Daniels cannot be deposed. A Marion Superior judge eventually ruled that Daniels could testify.

On Feb. 13, the justices heard arguments on the matter and ruled Daniels doesn’t have to testify.

Rucker wrote in the opinion that ultimately, the question in the case boils down to whether a trial court’s order to compel the governor’s deposition amounts to a “subpoena” from which the governor is privileged under Indiana statute. The majority found the reference to “subpoena” in the statute encompasses the order at issue here, and the statute clearly precludes the deposition of a sitting governor.

“To hold otherwise would be to elevate a strict literal meaning of the word 'subpoena' over clear Legislative intent to provide a gubernatorial privilege against compelled testimony. Surely the Legislature did not mean that any court command, provided it was not denominated 'subpoena,' would suffice to evade the statutory privilege,” Rucker wrote.

Justice Frank Sullivan concurred in result in a separate opinion, writing that it’s not necessary to rule on the privilege issue because the information IBM seeks from the governor isn’t relevant or material to any issue in the case.



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  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon