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Law school reject sues to take bar exam

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An Indianapolis man is suing the state Supreme Court justices and Board of Law Examiners because he believes he should be able to take the bar exam even if he didn't go to law school.

Clarence K. Carter claims Admission Rule 13, which provides the educational requirements to sit for the exam, violates his rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

Rule 13 establishes the minimum educational prerequisites someone needs in order to take the bar exam: graduating from an American Bar Association-approved law school, completion of the law course required for graduation, and completion of two cumulative semester hours of legal ethics or professional responsibility at an approved law school.

Carter applied to 13 ABA-approved law schools between September 2007 and May 2009 and was denied admission to all of them.

The case, Carter v. Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court for the State of Indiana and Executive Director and Members of the State Board of Law Examiners for the State of Indiana, No. 1:10-CV-41, was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.

Carter believes Rule 13 violates his due process rights because the rule unconstitutionally prejudges him as "being unfit and incompetent to practice law" here, doesn't allow him the chance to prove his fitness, and believes the educational requirements have no connection to his fitness and ability to practice law in Indiana.

Carter also argued the rule arbitrarily excludes him from the chance to qualify to practice here because of the law schools' admission denials. The suit alleges the rule unconstitutionally denies equal opportunity to qualify to practice law here to those who can't get into law school or can't afford to attend law school.

Carter wants Rule 13 declared unconstitutional, prevent Rule 13 from being enforced, and allow Carter and others who haven't attended law school to prove fitness and capacity to practice law in Indiana.

This is the third suit filed in the past year dealing in some way with fitness and character to join the bar. In December 2009, a lawyer in good standing in Kansas who lives in Fort Wayne filed suit against the BLE in Bryan J. Brown v. Dr. Elizabeth Bowman, Terry Harrel, et al., No. 1:09-CV-346, because he believes the board was biased and discriminatory based on his religious beliefs when it referred him to the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program. In July 2009, a Porter County woman filed a federal suit against the BLE in Jane Doe, et al. v. The Individual Members of the Indiana State Board of Law Examiners, No. 1:09-CV-842, charging that certain questions regarding fitness violate her ADA rights relating to mental health.

On Jan. 8, 2010, Magistrate Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson in Doe denied in part the BLE's motion for a protective order to prevent the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana from getting confidential information about bar applicants' answers to questions.

Magistrate Judge Magnus-Stinson found the plaintiffs made the requisite showing that "the need for truth" outweighs the importance of the confidentiality policy set forth in Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 19(3) because the plaintiffs only want anonymous aggregate statistical data from the two most recent bar exams. She ordered the BLE to provide the specified information no later than Jan. 29, and that the plaintiffs must not disclose this information without giving the BLE advance notice in case it wants to prevent the disclosure.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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