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State Fair properly stripped champion sheep title, but penalties merit hearing

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The Indiana State Fair Board’s decision to strip a winner of his grand champion sheep prize will stand, but the 4-H’er was entitled to a hearing on penalties, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.  

Jordan Parker was awarded 2011 Grand Champion Market Lamb and his animal raised $23,000 at the state fair Sale of Champions, but a drug screen after the sheep was slaughtered detected the presence of a feed additive for cattle not FDA-approved for sheep. Parker and his parents deny administering the prohibited feed additive.

After the positive drug test on the sheep, Parker lost not just the title, but also the auction sale prize money. He also was banned for two years from the sheep department and permanently banned from state fair 4-H sales. He faces a lifetime ban from participating in any state fair activities upon further infractions.

When Parker’s parents challenged the drug test results and sought to independently test the samples, they were informed the samples had been exhausted. They claimed among other things that Jordan had a property right in the lamb, he was deprived a due process hearing to challenge the drug test results, that the punishment was excessive, and that the fair board’s policy considering drug test results final and binding was unconstitutional.

On appeal of the fair board’s judicial review, a Marion Superior judge granted summary judgment in favor of the board, and the Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded, holding that the Parkers had agreed to terms and conditions set forth in the State Fair/4-H handbook.

“They agreed to be bound by the Handbook, including its requirement that the drug testing was ‘final and binding,’” Judge Michael Barnes wrote for the panel in Jordan Parker, a minor, individually, and by James Parker and Cheryl Parker, as Natural parents and next friends of Jordan Parker v. Indiana State Fair Board, an agency of The State of Indiana, 49A02-1212-PL-1003.   

But the panel ordered the trial court to conduct a further, narrow hearing.

“However, because the summary judgment motions addressed only the admissibility of the drug test results, we conclude that Jordan was entitled to an evidentiary hearing regarding the penalties imposed on him,” Barnes wrote.
 

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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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