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Justices look to set arguments in Rockport, blogger’s intimidation cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court may hold arguments in September on the case involving the controversial Rockport coal gasification plant as well as on the case of a Dearborn County man who was convicted of intimidation of a judge based on online rants.

The arguments in Daniel Brewington v. State of Indiana, 15A01-1110-CR-550, are to decide whether the justices should take the case. Justices granted transfer to the Rockport case, Indiana Gas Company, et al. v. Indiana Regulatory Commission, 93S02-1306-EX-00407, on June 6.

Supreme Court Public Information Office Kathryn Dolan said the Supreme Court Administration office is working on setting arguments in both cases, potentially for September. She noted that justices have not officially granted transfer to Brewington.

Transfer to the Supreme Court in the Rockport plant case was expected after the Indiana General Assembly deferred to the Indiana Supreme Court in Senate Enrolled Act 494. The legislation came after the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed an Indiana Regulatory Commission order approving a contract that would have funded the Rockport plant with guaranteed prices above current market rates for the substitute natural gas it would create.

The Brewington case has garnered attention on First Amendment issues. Daniel Brewington was originally convicted of intimidation on claims he threatened Dearborn Circuit Judge James Humphrey, Humphrey’s wife and a custody evaluator working in Brewington’s divorce case. But the Court of Appeals in January only upheld the intimidation conviction related to the judge.

Amicus parties to the case argue that if that conviction stands, some criticism of legislators, judges and others – whether by newspapers, advocacy groups or other citizens, would be punishable.

Brewington wrote numerous online rants on his blog after Humphrey’s 2009 order that separated him from his children, including saying that a judge who would do that was a child abuser.

The state maintains that Brewington’s speech isn’t protected because his communications were truly threatening to the judge.
 

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  1. 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.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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