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Justices hear 3 cases, including robo-calls appeal

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The Indiana Supreme Court heard three arguments this morning, including one case that it had granted emergency transfer to regarding whether the state should be constitutionally allowed to restrict robo-calls to residents.

With Justice Frank Sullivan not participating, the four justices heard arguments first in State of Indiana v. FreeEats.com, No. 07S00-1008-MI-411, that the court had granted on emergency transfer from the Brown Circuit Court. The case involves the attempted enforcement of the Indiana AutoDialer Law, or Indiana Code 24-5-14, by the state. The trial judge granted and denied in part a preliminary injunction request from FreeEats.com and the state appealed, presenting this case for the justices’ consideration.

The case raises a constitutional question under the Indiana Constitution, and attorney Paul Jefferson with Barnes & Thornburg argued that this restriction creates an economic burden for the company using this interactive artificial technology and violates the state Constitution. He’s not asking the court to strike down the full statute, but rather allow for this technology to be used in place of a live operator as the legislative language currently states.

Terre Haute attorney James Bopp split the time with Jefferson, taking up the First Amendment concerns he sees with the case. Bopp was quickly questioned by the justices about whether his argument was relevant to the appeal at hand. As soon as Bopp began citing his landmark victory before the U.S. Supreme Court last year in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010), which dealt with whether companies should be able to donate money to political campaigns, Justice Brent Dickson wondered whether his argument had standing in this state appeal.

The trial court didn’t rule on that First Amendment issue, the court and Bopp agreed, and so the state justices questioned whether this preliminary injunction matter – rather than a summary judgment issue - allows for other legal theories and issues to be raised. Bopp said it did and discussed why he believes the state is prohibited from restricting this protected type of speech within someone’s home.

But Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher argued that this robo-calls restriction doesn’t target protected political speech and isn’t about campaign-finance laws as Citizens United and other free speech cases were. Instead it focuses on all types of calls that seek consent without a live operator and that’s a consumer-protection issue that the statute aims to protect homeowners against.

The same four justices also heard the case of City of Greenwood v. Town of Bargersville, No. 41S05-1012-CV-666, in which Greenwood is challenging the town's annexation of land within three miles of the city's corporate boundary. The Johnson Superior Court granted summary judgment in Bargersville’s favor. The Indiana Court of Appeals last year reversed on the grounds that the town didn’t obtain the consent of 51 percent of the landowners for annexation purposes, but rather as part of a separate sewer service agreement. What the Supreme Court rules will not only decide whether that part of Bargersville becomes a part of Greenwood, but also what is required for “consent” by other communities trying to annex land.

The third case the court heard today is a combined argument in Jeffery McCabe v. Commissioner, Indiana Department of Insurance / Hematology-Oncology of Indiana, P.C., v. Hadley Fruits, No. 49S02-1010-CV-602, on whether attorney fees and litigation expenses are recoverable damages under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute. Justice Sullivan heard arguments and was participating in that appeal.
 

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  • Supreme ruling
    In regards to the Greenwood v Bargersville debate who represents the citizens that do not want to be annexed or merged. It is too bad the court cannot consider how towns and cities should not gobble up land just to steal money oh i am sorry generate revenue.

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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