Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Statement Regarding Class Action Lawsuit Filed Today Against Marion County Traffic Court and Marion County Parking Violations Court

Paul K. Ogden, an attorney with Roberts & Bishop, a downtown law firm, announced today that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of defendants who have appeared, or will appear before the Marion County Traffic Court and Traffic Violations Court.
In the Complaint, three identified plaintiffs, Toshinao Ishii, Matthew Stone, and Adam Lenkowsky, allege that the courts violate the United States and Indiana Constitutions by punishing defendants who choose to have their day in court rather than simply pay the traffic or parking ticket they receive. The Complaint alleges that Judge William E. Young of the Marion County Traffic Court fines defendants up to an additional $500 if they litigate their case and lose. The Traffic Court website, according to lawsuit, threatens $10,000 fines. The complaint also cites a press release that City intends to authorize the new Parking Violations Court to fine defendants up to $2,500 if they challenge their parking tickets.

Ogden stated, “While I like and have the utmost respect for Judge Bill Young, the principle that justice should be freely administered and not come accompanied by the threat of a fine, is simply too important to ignore. Everyone who comes to court, even those charged with minor parking or traffic offenses, has a constitutional right to his or day in court without being severely penalized for exercising that right.”

The lawsuit also notes that the Traffic Court’s additional practice of closing its courtroom to the public is unconstitutional.

In the legal complaint, Ogden asks that Court enter an order prohibiting the Traffic Court and Parking Violations Court from imposing fines on defendants for challenging their and that the money collected from such practice be returned. The lawsuit also asks that the Court order the end to the closed courtroom in Traffic Court.

Ogden noted that, while the lawsuit was filed in Marion County Superior Court, the Plaintiffs will be exercising their right to have the case transferred to an adjoining county. Ogden expects that, ultimately, the Indiana Court of Appeals or Indiana Supreme Court will have to decide the constitutionality of the courts’ practices.

12 comments:

varangianguard said...

Good luck!

Cato said...

OGDEN FOR MAYOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hell, put this man in the Senate.

Young needs to be punished for how he's conducted that farce of a court.

Doug said...

Got any notice of tort claim problems with this one? Just thinking out loud. Probably not if you're just asking for injunctive relief.

Diana Vice said...

Paul Ogden is a true American patriot!

indyernie said...

For your clients sake I hope you are a better attorney than you are a republican. Good luck , I think you are right in pursuing it.

M.D. said...

This is great to hear. I wasn't aware of the policy, but it makes me want to show up to the Traffic Court with a copy of the Indiana Constitution in hand and demand entry. :-)

Stop Indiana said...

Hearing this on WIBC this afternoon prompted a parallel concern about property tax appeals; taking 2 / 3 / 4+ years to "hear" while owners are forced to pay unjustified & exorbitant overcharges is an undue hardship, justice delayed & therefore denied.

Other payment disputes are set aside until settled (i.e. credit card purchases, invoiced overcharges or disputes, etc.). The county's excuse is they're understaffed. Yet this same county found $1M+ dollars to pay Manitron for substandard work in underperforming reassessment, while protecting Manitron from any standard by imposing an impossible time allotment or schedule to perform professional quality work; from which Manitron was therefore able to disclaim responsibility. Once again it's citizens who are unduly burdened with the unfair malpractices of government.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Doug, you're right...no notice of tort claim problem if you're just asking for injunctive relief.

Citizen Kane said...

As I remember attending traffic court in Johnson County a decade or so ago, I remember deciding not to contest the case after hearing a statement from the Judge that appeared to me to be a thinly-veiled threat (of a sure lost and increased costs).

So, to me, this current travesty is just another point along the government's abusive power continuum.

patriot paul said...

Excellent post and effort. STOP INDIANA has a good insite; could be ramifications for how other venues are handled that stacks the cards against citizens by threats of penalties and implied guilty before being proven innocent syndrome. Some of us have talked already and willing to support you.

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

OGDEN FOR MAYOR!

And Ernie? I might be a Republican if the party were run by people of principle like Ogden.

Like I said before, if grandpa is naughty with the children, you don't sweep it under the carpet. You tell and stop him. You don't keep it a secret and look the other way because he's "family".

High and Dry said...

Are you able to add persons to the suit? I was recently cited for 71 in 55. I was definitely speeding, but only 65-67. Of course 71 is 16 over, so a 4 point violation. I can't afford to challenge because I can't risk the extra fines. If the police are clearly going to bump up speeds to increase the fines, don't be so obvious about it, make it 73 or something, really.