ILNews

Justices to hear 'robocalls' arguments Monday

IL Staff
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court travels to Terre Haute Monday for arguments in a case dealing with "robocalls." The issue in State of Indiana v. American Family Voices, Inc., Jim Gonzalez, and John Does 2-10, is whether pre-recorded, automated "robocalls" with political content can be limited under Indiana's Automatic Dialing Machine Statute, Indiana Code Section 24-5-14-5. The case stems from complaints about American Family Voices' use of automated calls; the attorney general's office filed an action against the group in September 2006 in Harrison Circuit Court. The Circuit Court granted American Family Voices' motion to dismiss the complaint, leading to the state seeking immediate transfer of the case to the Supreme Court. The central committees of the Indiana Democratic and Republican parties have filed briefs arguing that political pre-recorded calls are legal.
At issue is whether the 1988 state law banning these calls - which the attorney general first started enforcing in 2006 - applies only to commercial or sales-related calls, or whether it extends to include political-related calls.

Since 2004, the state has filed numerous suits against companies or reached agreements over alleged violations of federal or state statutes regulating automated and pre-recorded calls, including Eyeglass World LLC, Promise Keepers, and the Economic Freedom Fund. In September 2007, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed FreeEats.com, Inc. v. State of Indiana and Steve Carter, Attorney General, No. 06-3900, a suit filed by FreeEats.com Inc. that challenged Indiana's prerecorded telephone messages statute. The federal appellate court ruled because a state court was already considering the issue, it could provide an adequate legal remedy. FreeEats.com filed the federal action seeking an injunction to stop the state's enforcement of the statute after the attorney general filed a state claim against a company that hired FreeEats.com to make the pre-recorded calls to Hoosiers. Arguments begin at 1 p.m. in the Tilson Auditorium in the Hulman Center at Indiana State University, 200 N. Eighth St., Terre Haute.
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  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

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