First Amendment

Councilor: ACLU settlement won't deter panhandling proposal

April 9, 2014
Kathleen McLaughlin, IBJ Staff
The city of Indianapolis reached a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union over enforcement of its panhandling ordinance, but that won't deter a City-County Council effort to pass a more restrictive law, a councilor said Wednesday morning.
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Settlement of federal case requires Indianapolis police to revise procedure

February 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
As part of a settlement to a federal civil rights case, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will be instituting a new policy prohibiting police officers from interfering with civilians who are recording their actions.
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Judges order injunction against enforcement of permit policy

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who wanted to protest a proposed United Nations arms treaty on Indianapolis’ Monument Circle in 2012 but was kicked off the property because of a lack of permit was victorious in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday.
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Notre Dame refiles suit against Obamacare ‘contraception mandate’

December 3, 2013
IL Staff
The University of Notre Dame has refiled a federal lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of the so-called contraception mandate included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
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7th Circuit: Federal law does not preempt Indiana’s ‘robo-call’ statute

November 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday reversed the decision by a federal judge that Indiana’s Automated Dialing Machine Statute is preempted by the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The injunction entered against enforcing the law had been stayed by the appellate court pending appeal.
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7th Circuit blocks Obamacare ‘contraception mandate’

November 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
Roman Catholic employers – including the owners of an Indiana company – won a Circuit Court ruling Friday blocking the “contraception mandate” contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
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Supreme Court vacates transfer in Star commenter case

October 9, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indianapolis Star has signaled an intent to comply with a court order to identify an anonymous online commenter whose remarks about a former Junior Achievement leader are part of a defamation lawsuit, according to an attorney representing the former executive.
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Brewington case focuses First Amendment attention on Indiana

September 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
Daniel Brewington is either a poster child for the wrongful prosecution of free speech or a man whose online rants about a judge constituted criminal threats. It all depends on your point of view.
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Volokh: Case will have ramifications beyond Indiana

September 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
First Amendment scholar and UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh knows a thing or two about blogging and free speech, as namesake of the popular legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy.
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ACLU alleges IMPD officers infringed panhandlers’ free-speech rights

August 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
The ACLU of Indiana has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the city and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers violated the free speech rights of indigent panhandlers ordered to move from near Circle Center Mall last week.
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Prisoner adequately stated First Amendment claim against DOC employees

July 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals quickly affirmed the dismissal of most of a prisoner’s claims regarding violations under Indiana statute or the state and federal constitutions, but found her First Amendment retaliation claims against several Department of Correction employees should not have been dismissed by the trial court.
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Attorney says Washington nonprofit’s complaints are part of ‘smear’ campaign

July 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Terre Haute conservative attorney James Bopp Jr. says that an IRS whistleblower suit and other complaints alleging Bopp has diverted funds from the nonprofit James Madison Center for Free Speech to his law firm are part of a “smear machine” by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
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Man loses challenge to Internet access restrictions

July 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A convicted sex offender’s probation condition restricting his access to certain websites and programs that are frequented by children does not violate the man’s First Amendment rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Police officer’s suit alleging retaliation for political comment survives

July 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed summary judgment in favor of two Portage police officers and the city on a detective’s claim that he was transferred in retaliation for comments he made to a local newspaper following the mayoral primary election in 2007.
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SCOTUS issues 3 decisions; opinions on Ball State case, same-sex marriage to come

June 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Those who hoped to learn how the Supreme Court of the United States will rule on same-sex marriage likely will need to wait until next week. The U.S. justices issued three opinions Thursday, although none were from the highly anticipated cases before them.
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Justices look to set arguments in Rockport, blogger’s intimidation cases

June 10, 2013
IL Staff
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.
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Criticism of judge results in discipline case

May 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indianapolis attorney and blogger Paul Ogden speaks his mind, sometimes to his disadvantage, he concedes. Now he could lose his law license because of things he wrote.
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Appeals court tackles sex offender use of social media

March 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Two months after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state’s law prohibiting sex offenders from using certain social media sites, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Indiana Code 35-42-4-12 violates an Elkhart County man’s First Amendment rights.
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ACLU of Indiana claims ordinances on door-to-door canvassing violate First Amendment

March 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The ACLU of Indiana announced Thursday it has filed lawsuits against the town of Yorktown and the city of Jeffersonville because their ordinances regulating the activities of door-to-door canvassers violate the right to free expression under the U.S. Constitution.
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Is COA opinion on threat to judge a threat to rights?

March 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
Advocates say imprisoned blogger's ruling out of the Indiana Court of Appeals imperils the First Amendment.
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Settlement in works for teens expelled for online death threats

February 28, 2013
IL Staff
Griffith Public Schools and the three teens expelled from eighth grade because of a Facebook conversation are in the process of finalizing a settlement agreement, according to a joint status report filed Wednesday in federal court.
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7th Circuit grants injunction in company’s suit against providing employees contraceptives

January 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding a case out of Madison, Ind., to be nearly identical to one out of Southern Illinois challenging the federal mandate that employers must provide contraceptives to employees despite religious objections, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction Wednesday.
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Supreme Court denies Star appeal in online commenter case

December 21, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday denied transfer in The Indianapolis Star’s appeal of an order that it identify a person who posted an anonymous online comment that has been included in a defamation suit.
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Star seeks rehearing on order to identify online commenter

December 14, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indianapolis Star is asking the Court of Appeals to reconsider its order issued Dec.7 that required the newspaper to release the name of an online commenter Friday to a plaintiff who claims the remarks defamed him.
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COA rules it doesn’t have jurisdiction over online comment appeal

December 10, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a 20-page order Dec. 7 outlining why Judges Edward Najam and Elaine Brown dismissed The Indianapolis Star’s latest appeal against having to release the name of an online commenter to the plaintiff in a lawsuit.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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