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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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