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SCOTUS denies Indiana wine case

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The Supreme Court of the United States won't consider whether Indiana's wine shipping law is constitutional by requiring in-person contact before any direct delivery is allowed.

Justices considered the case of Patrick L. Baude, et al. v. David L. Heath and Indiana Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Indiana, Nos. 07-3323 and 07-3338, at a private conference on Thursday, and the decision denying the writ of certiorari came this morning when the order list was released.

Attorneys had asked the court in early February to accept the case, which challenged an Aug. 7, 2008, ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Circuit court ruled that Hoosiers must first make face-to-face contact at a winery to verify their age before being allowed to purchase any alcohol online or by phone. Appellate judges reversed a 2007 decision from then-U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder in Indianapolis, who'd struck down part of the state's 2006 law banning out-of-state shipments to Indiana customers without that initial in-person contact.

In its reasoning, the appellate panel made up of Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges William Bauer and Richard Posner disagreed with Judge Tinder's reasoning on the in-person contact rule, noting that the absence of face-to-face age verification made it easier for minors to have wine sent to them.

Indianapolis attorney Jon Laramore with Baker & Daniels, who represented the Indiana Winegrowers Guild, said he wasn't surprised even though there was some hope the justices would take the case because of a conflict between the 6th and 7th Circuits. That conflict came after a December ruling that struck down Kentucky's law requiring in-person contact before consumers could obtain a wine shipment.

But Ice Miller attorney Brian Paul, who represented the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Indiana, said he wasn't surprised by the decision. Plaintiffs had argued that a conflict between the 6th and 7th Circuits needed to be addressed, but Paul said that the high court isn't ready to step into that debate.

"It's too early for them to take this," he said. "The Supreme Court likes to have Circuits flush out conflicts before deciding to get involved."

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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

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