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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. Such things are no more elections than those in the late, unlamented Soviet Union.

  2. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  3. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  4. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  5. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

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