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Zoeller moves to strike Ritz’s suit against Board of Education

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Attorney General Greg Zoeller Thursday asked a court to throw out a lawsuit filed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz against the Indiana Board of Education.

The AG’s office filed a motion to strike and asked Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg to set a hearing on its request. Zoller argues Ritz’s suit brought by Department of Education attorneys Bernice A.N. Corley and Michael G. Moore is barred by statute. Ritz, a Democrat, alleges in the suit that board members appointed by Republican governors acted illegally to strip her office of oversight of the A-F school-grading system.

The system adopted under Ritz’s predecessor, Republican Tony Bennett, was widely criticized after the discovery of emails indicating the department under Bennett’s leadership improved the grades of charter schools connected to campaign donors.

The motion from Zoeller, a Republican, cites I.C. 4-6-2-1 that provides the AG “shall prosecute and defend all suits that may be instituted by or against the state of Indiana.”

“Without the consent of the Attorney General, no state official may hire or utilize private counsel to represent herself in an official capacity suit,” the motion claims. “…Therefore, as Chair of the Indiana State Board of Education and Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, the representation of Plaintiff Ritz’s legal interests lies exclusively in the hands of the Attorney General,” the filing says.

Ritz’s suit claims the actions of board members, including drafting a letter to Republican legislative leaders to advocate for changing who’s in charge of school grades, violated Indiana’s Open Door law. The filing by the AG’s office makes no reference to the allegations in Ritz’s suit.

“Attorney General Zoeller noted that his office has not taken sides on the Superintendent’s Open Door Law complaint or on the underlying policy disagreement” between Ritz and the board of education, the AG’s office said in a statement.

“For purposes of this motion filed today, the Attorney General does not represent the 10 individual board members, but rather state government itself and he is asserting that legal authority.  The Attorney General will monitor any related legal matters that might arise and represent state interests as needed,” the statement said.

As of Thursday afternoon, no hearings had been scheduled in the case.

Zoeller's motion comes a day after education board member Tony Walker asked the court to dismiss the suit.
 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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