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SCOTUS denies case between Indiana agencies on 11th Amendment

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The Supreme Court of the United States won’t take an Indiana case which delved into whether the 11th Amendment prohibits an independent state agency from suing a traditional state agency in federal court.

Justices on the nation’s highest court issued an order list Monday denying a writ of certiorari in the case of Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services v. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, et al., No. 08-3183, a case involving the state’s practices and programs regarding mentally ill inmates and what access exists to information on inmates.

The Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services had sued the state in late 2006 in order to gain access to records on a mentally disabled adult patient who’d died while at LaRue Carter Memorial Hospital to find out if she had been an abuse victim. U.S. Judge Larry McKinney decided the defendants had to hand over the records because the victim was an adult and her parents weren’t appointed as legal guardians, but the FSSA argued that releasing the records would violate the victim’s parents’ privacy.

A three-judge appellate panel for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the suit, but in April 2010 the appellate court en banc reversed that panel ruling on the grounds that the 11th Amendment doesn’t bar the plaintiff IPAS from suing the FSSA. Specifically, the ruling found that the federal Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act of 1986 allows that – as well as peer review of records relating to treatment within that facility. Circuit Judge David F. Hamilton authored the majority en banc opinion that held the litigation could proceed, though Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook disagreed and wrote a dissent saying he’d dismiss and let the administrative process play out.

The SCOTUS ruled April 19 on a similar issue about the 11th Amendment out of Virginia – that a federal court can hear a lawsuit for prospective relief against state officials brought by another agency of the same state. The case was Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy v. Stewart, No. 09-529.
 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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