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Zoeller, senators at odds over immigration law

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Three Republican state senators seeking to defend parts of Indiana’s immigration law that Attorney General Greg Zoeller deemed unconstitutional have backing from a statewide elected official in the capitol – of Kansas.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach in Topeka, Kan., is among submitters of a motion to intervene filed in federal court in Indianapolis on behalf of Indiana immigration law sponsor Mike Delph of Carmel, as well as Phil Boots of Crawfordsville and Brent Steele of Bedford.
 

kobach-kris-mug.jpg Kobach

The senators argue that U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker should let them defend parts of the law that Zoeller, also a Republican, advised the court were unconstitutional under the Supreme Court of the United States’ June decision in Arizona v. U.S., which struck down major parts of that state’s immigration law.

Kobach was elected in 2010, but before that, he was a legal driving force at the Immigration Reform Law Institute in Washington, D.C., where he helped draft and advocate for the laws in Arizona and Indiana. IRLI’s website still lists Kobach “of counsel.”

Zoeller said that as a result of the Arizona decision, he no longer would defend warrantless arrest provisions in Indiana’s law, Senate Enrolled Act 590. That provision and others are challenged in Buquer v. Indianapolis, 1:11-CV-0708.

It is unclear what led IRLI to draft the motion to intervene on behalf of the senators, or who initiated it, because no one with direct knowledge would speak about it. Senate staff members said the senators could not comment on matters of pending litigation. Reached individually, Boots and Delph said they could not comment, and Steele did not return a phone message.


zoeller-greg.jpg Zoeller

Boots, Delph and Senate staffers directed requests for comment to Kobach and IRLI director Garrett Roe, who drafted the motion to intervene. Neither Roe nor Kobach responded to requests seeking comment.

The kerfuffle over the fate of Indiana’s immigration law led Zoeller to write a guest column that appeared this month in many Indiana newspapers.

“I have been warned that some individuals seeking attention might attempt to manufacture a misleading complaint about the work that my office and I have done in representing Hoosiers. That would be disappointing; such political stunts are the height of cynicism and help create further public distrust,” Zoeller wrote.

Zoeller went on to say that he had a clear conscience in defending the immigration law as he did; that he properly deferred to the SCOTUS decision; and that he saw his action as a “teaching moment” regarding the role of the attorney general.

“It was clear Indiana’s attempts to enforce our law would be similarly struck down,” Zoeller wrote. “My duty to the U.S. Constitution and my obligation to speak truthfully to the federal court required me to announce that we could no longer defend certain portions of SEA 590 calling for warrantless arrests. We continue to defend other parts of the state immigration law, however.”

Zoeller spokesman Bryan Corbin said the guest column was written before the senators moved to intervene. “Directed primarily at comments on the blogosphere from individuals who misunderstood the attorney general’s role in determining legal policy of the state, the op-ed sought to set the record straight,” Corbin said in an email.

The senators asked to intervene under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2). They said the provisions of SEA 590 were distinct enough from the Arizona law to warrant consideration of their arguments. They claim, among other things, that they have an interest in the case to prevent the nullification of their legislative votes.

“After the attorney general declined to defend all of SB 590, the proposed intervenors remain the only interested parties who are ready and willing to defend their core legislative interests in the full implementation of the duly enacted law,” their motion says.

Jeff Cooper, an associate professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law with a focus in civil procedure, said the senators have a tough claim to make and that legislative standing is a complicated doctrine.

“They’re not going to be able to say, ‘I voted for this, the court struck it down, so I’m affected,’” Cooper said. “On its face, I would be very surprised if the court would recognize standing.”

Zoeller has moved to strike the request to intervene, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which brought the Buquer case, also objected to the senators’ filing.

“The proposed interveners seek to intervene in their official capacities to present their personal views on the constitutionality of Senate Bill 590,” the AG’s motion to strike says. “Indiana law does not permit a state senator in his official capacity to hire private counsel to intervene in a matter already being handled by the attorney general.”

Jeff Papa, chief of staff and legal counsel for the Indiana Senate, said the senators’ filing was made independently and that the Senate isn’t retaining outside counsel in the matter. He said he was unaware of any prior case in which lawmakers similarly had sought to intervene.

“I think the question comes down to whether once the attorney general has decided he doesn’t want to pursue (defending a statute), whether anyone else can pursue that,” Papa said. “I think it’s an open question.”

Indiana ACLU legal director Ken Falk disagreed.

“Legislators do not have the ability to do this,” he said. “Under Indiana law, the attorney general represents the state and the state’s interest, and we believe there’s no authority for three legislators to claim an interest because they are not happy about how he is interpreting the law.

“When you think about what kind of door this opens up for legislators to second-guess the attorney general,” he said, “it’s fairly open-ended.”

Dawn Johnsen, a constitutional law professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, said issues of who represents federal law often arise when a president declines to defend a statute. In such cases, interveners typically have the consent of a body of Congress, she said. Such is the case now with the Defense of Marriage Act, which is being defended by a bipartisan legal advisory group of the U.S. House with the consent of Attorney General Eric Holder.

“There’s a big difference there with the Defense of Marriage Act,” Johnsen said. “The constitutionality is a lot less clear; the Supreme Court has never decided the issue. Here, the Supreme Court in the Arizona case made clear what Indiana is trying to do is unconstitutional.”





Johnsen said Zoeller’s column “was very convincing and correct in his view of his obligation to enforce the Constitution and not invariably defend state statutes that are unconstitutional.”

She said Kobach’s name on the brief signifies his involvement in issues that are aligned nationally. “I don’t see anything improper there, I think it’s just political,” Johnsen said. “I’m not sure it’s a good idea.”

I.U. McKinney School of Law professor and immigration clinic director Linda Kelly Hill said she’s dubious of the senators’ intentions and Kobach’s involvement.

“I don’t consider myself really politically savvy, but it just strikes me as a little odd that someone from another state in a state office is involved in signing off on or directly supporting legislators in other states in a lawsuit,” Kelly Hill said.

She noted that many parts of SEA 590 stand, including denial of in-state tuition to non-citizens and consideration of immigration status as a factor in setting bond.

“One really has to wonder what the point is of filing such a type of action,” Kelly Hill said. “There’s not going to be any practical impact; it’s entirely a political statement.”•
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  1. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  2. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  3. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  4. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  5. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

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