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No issue with all legislative logrolling

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The Indiana Supreme Court offered some clues recently about why it’s ignored repeated attempts to address the issue of legislative logrolling, where multiple unrelated changes are stuffed into one massive bill that becomes law.

In a June 29 decision in Andre Peoples v. State of Indiana, No. 79S02-0912-CR-549, the court inserted some language that could serve as a warning to anyone who might want to challenge non-budget items being inserted into large budget bills – something that has caused controversy in the past.

Justice Frank Sullivan wrote for the unanimous court and tackled the criminal case, involving legislation about how three unrelated felonies of any kind could be eligible for enhanced sentences for a habitual offender. The ruling touched on a special rule enacted during a budget bill conference committee in 2001 that limited the use of certain substance offenses in making those kinds of enhancements.

“Because the 2001 amendment was contained in the bill enacting the biennial state budget, the change may have reflected a concern over the fiscal impact of incarcerating drug offenders,” the court wrote, noting that the original law was written in 1977 and that “It is not surprising that the provisions do not mesh perfectly.”

Those references to logrolling and the language used in describing the legislative action indicates that the court found no problem with the unrelated statutory language found in the budget bill, and that it even found on its own initiative a valid reason as to why it may have wended its way in there. Some have interpreted this to mean that any future challenge about logrolling could be struck down if the court sees a valid reason for the resulting law.
 

Rehearing on "Finding focus in laws" IL Oct. 28-Nov. 10, 2009

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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