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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. 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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