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Suit against traffic court sent back to state court

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A lawsuit against the Marion Superior traffic court over fees has been moved back to state court.

U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence ordered to state court Toshiano Ishii, et al. v. Marion County Superior Court No. 13, et al., No. 1:09-CV-1509, a suit which claims Marion County Judge William E. Young violates residents' constitutional rights by imposing additional fees on those who unsuccessfully challenge their tickets and by closing proceedings to the public.

The plaintiffs filed the suit in Marion Superior Court No. 11 in December 2009. According to the suit, Toshiano Ishii appeared in traffic court to contest a ticket; he lost and was fined an additional $400. Matthew Stone was cited for improperly wearing a seatbelt. He wears it differently because of a pacemaker and chose not to challenge the ticket because of Judge Young's policy. Adam Lenkowsky asked to enter the courtroom as a member of the public and was denied entrance.

They claim when Judge Young took the bench in traffic court in 2009, he instituted a policy that defendants who come before his court and are found guilty would be fined up to an additional $500 and could even be assessed up to $10,000 plus court costs. The traffic courtroom is also open only to defendants and prevents parents of minors to be present during proceedings. The threat of these fines violates the federal and state constitutions, according to the suit.

The case was moved to U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division in late December at the city's request.

But attorneys want the case back in state court, so they voluntarily dismissed their federal claims. In the order entered Thursday by Judge Lawrence, merely doing that does not divest the federal court of subject matter jurisdiction over the case. The District Court had jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1367, which provides for the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction over claims based upon state law that are closely related to the federal claims in a case.

However, there is a presumption that a District Court judge will relinquish jurisdiction over any supplemental claim to the state courts once federal claims are removed. There are exceptions to that general rule, but none of those apply in the instant case, the judge continued.

Judge Lawrence ordered the case back to Marion Superior Court and also denied plaintiffs' request that defendants be sanctioned for suggesting that federal court still had jurisdiction over the case.

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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