First Amendment

Prisons face legal questions in managing inmate requestsRestricted Content

January 18, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The institutions must balance religion of inmates and security of prisons.
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SCOTUS won't consider off-campus school speech

January 17, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The nation’s highest court has declined to take a pair of cases asking whether schools can censor the off-campus behavior of students who post messages or photos against school officials or other students.
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State Supreme Court's robo-calls ruling carries over to federal lawsuit

January 5, 2012
Michael Hoskins
A ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court upholding the state’s automated phone call ban has found its way into the briefing of a federal appeal challenging the same statute, and the attorneys disagree on whether the state justices adequately addressed a First Amendment issue.
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Justices uphold Indiana robo-calls ban

December 29, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has held the state can continue enforcing a ban on automated robo-calls, with four justices finding that enforcement does not violate the Indiana Constitution’s free speech rights.
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7th Circuit allows Indiana to enforce ban on out-of-state robo-calls

December 22, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Indiana is allowed to enforce the statute that restricts out-of-state robo-calls while an appeal on the issue is ongoing.
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Judge won't allow auto-dialer statute enforcement during appeal

December 13, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Balancing free speech rights with the public interest in preventing automated political calls from out-of-state entities, U.S. Judge William Lawrence in Indianapolis denied the state’s request to continue enforcing Indiana’s auto-dialer statute while a higher court is considering his ruling from two months ago that blocked enforcement.
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COA to consider journalistic shield protections for anonymous online comments

December 9, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals hears arguments Monday on a question of first impression for the Internet-savvy 21st century: whether news outlets have any First Amendment or state journalistic shield protection from being required to disclose information that could help reveal the identities of people posting anonymous comments online.
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Courts limiting workers' online conductRestricted Content

October 26, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Workplace Internet policies go up against free speech concerns.
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Can schools discipline for off-campus conduct?Restricted Content

August 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
School is back in session, and a new set of court rulings issued during the summer break may make it more difficult for school administrators to decide how to handle inappropriate or potentially disruptive online activities carried out by students off-campus.
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Circuit Court upholds ban on pen-pal solicitation by inmates

July 19, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The First Amendment rights of Indiana inmates aren’t being violated by a ban instituted by the Department of Correction on advertising for pen-pals and receiving materials from resources that allow people to advertise for pen-pals, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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Judges halt enforcement of challenged laws

June 27, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Two federal judges issued preliminary injunctions June 24 preventing parts of two new controversial laws regarding immigration and funding of Planned Parenthood of Indiana from being enforced.
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Judge: video games don't infringe on Dillinger trademark

June 17, 2011
Cory Schouten
A federal judge has shot down a lawsuit brought by heirs of notorious bank robber John Dillinger over the depiction of the Dillinger name in video games based on the classic movie "The Godfather."
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Planned Parenthood's request for restraining order denied

May 11, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt has denied Planned Parenthood of Indiana's request for a temporary restraining order barring the enforcement of a law signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels on Tuesday.
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SCOTUS denies cert, upholding Indiana's judicial canons

May 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
It’s official: Indiana’s judicial canons are constitutional and the rules don’t infringe upon a judge or candidate’s free speech rights.
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SCOTUS denies Indiana judicial canons case

May 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has refused to take a case asking whether Indiana’s judicial canons constitutionally infringe on the free speech rights of those on or vying for seats on the bench.
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Justices find email is constitutionally protected speech

April 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred in granting summary judgment to a fire chief and township in a firefighter’s suit following his termination by the chief for sending a personal, political email that the chief believed contained false statements of fact. The firefighter’s email was actually constitutionally protected speech, the Indiana Supreme Court held Thursday.
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Religious-worship burglary enhancement doesn’t violate constitutions

February 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against a man who argued the enhancement of his burglary conviction to a Class B felony because he burgled a church violated the federal and state constitutions. In the first impression issue, the judges held the enhancement doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment or Article 1, Section 4 of the Indiana Constitution.
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Lawsuit challenges free-expression restriction at airport

January 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A Fort Wayne man is suing the Allen County Airport Authority because he claims a recently enacted resolution severely restricts his ability to protest the new screening procedures implemented by the Transportation Security Administration.
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Justices hear 3 cases, including robo-calls appeal

January 20, 2011
Michael Hoskins
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.
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Judges reverse dismissal of prisoner's suit

January 19, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of a prisoner’s civil rights suit that stemmed from his lack of gloves while working in the cold to remove tree stumps.
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State urges SCOTUS to deny judicial canons case

January 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has filed a brief with the nation’s highest court, urging the justices to not hear a case about whether Indiana’s judicial canons constitutionally infringe on the free speech rights of those on or vying for seats on the bench.
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Suit challenges Bible instruction at public school

October 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A mother’s objection to Bible study being taught at her son’s public school has led her to file a lawsuit to stop the religious teaching.
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SCOTUS asked to take both judicial canons appeals

September 29, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A Terre Haute attorney wants the nation’s highest court to review two appellate cases out of Indiana and Wisconsin that uphold judicial canons and pose free speech questions about what judicial candidates can say or do when campaigning for office.
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Religious defense doesn't discharge court's subject matter jurisdiction

September 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A court with authority to hear defamation and invasion of privacy claims is not ousted of subject matter jurisdiction just because a defendant pleads a religious defense, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.
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7th Circuit upholds Indiana's judicial canons

September 1, 2010
Michael Hoskins
At a time when the legal community is caught up in controversies about how judges are selected and whether they can remain impartial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has weighed in on that national debate and ruled that states have the authority to self-regulate on those issues as it relates to judicial canons.
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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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