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Driver’s lack of appellee brief reinstates license revocation

December 30, 2014

A motorist who won a trial court judgment vacating the suspension of his driver’s license didn’t file a brief when the Bureau of Motor Vehicles appealed the decision and, therefore, lost his challenge of the BMV action.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a ruling by Franklin Circuit Judge J. Steven Cox and remanded with instructions to reinstate the license suspension sought by the BMV against Joseph P. Mills. The Bureau claims Mills is a habitual traffic violator.

Mills persuaded the trial court to lift the license revocation due to “extreme unfairness.” The BMV notified Mills in January 2012 that his license would be suspended for 10 years based on his qualification as a habitual traffic violator due to an offense in 2008. Mills had argued successfully at the trial court that he no longer presented a danger and his work depended on a significant amount of driving.

But Judge Rudolph R. Pyle wrote for the appellate panel that a recent Supreme Court ruling in a case involving a former state worker, Ind. State Ethics Comm’n v. Sanchez, 18 N.E.3d 988, 991 (2014), applied to Mills’ case.

“Our Supreme Court’s analysis in Sanchez controls the outcome here. The burden of proof is on Mills, who was the petitioner for judicial review in the trial court and is the appellee in this Court,” Pyle wrote in Donald Snemis, Commissioner of the Ind. BMV; and Melvin Wilhelm, Prosecuting Atty. v. Joseph P. Mills, 24A01-1408-MI-329.
 
“However, Mills did not file an appellee’s brief and, as such, cannot have met his burden of proof on appeal. Accordingly, we summarily reverse the trial court’s decision and remand with instructions that the trial court reinstate the BMV’s adjudication against Mills.”


 

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