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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ind. Decisions - "BMV license policy questioned"

Here is the preview description for the case of Lyn Leone, et al vs. Commissioner of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, argued before the Court of Appeals on Tuesday, Dec. 16:

Appellants-Plaintiffs appeal the trial court's Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order denying their Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The Appellants-Plaintiffs contend that the Commissioner of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has violated Indiana Law by relying upon the Social Security Administration's records to revoke their driver licenses or state issued identification cards. They contend that state law only requires them to provide their "legal name" in order to obtain a driver license or state identification card, but now the Bureau of Motor Vehicles is rejecting their valid driver licenses and state identification cards based upon conflicting records from the Social Security Administration. The Scheduled Panel Members are Judges Riley, Bailey and Bradford.
Here is the report today of Sandra Chapman of 13 Eyewitness News - WTHR:
Thousands of Indiana residents with legal name changes don't have it so easy. Under the BMV's new process, they've been stripped of their licenses and ID cards despite state law.

"Indiana law recognizes that people's legal names may be different than what's on their Social Security records," said Ken Falk, Indiana Civil Liberties Union.

For example, thousands of Indiana women take their husband's name. But the government doesn't require them to report that to Social Security, since earnings and taxes are tracked through their issued numbers. It's good enough for them, but not Indiana's BMV.

"What we're talking about is more than 15,000 people who in April were told their licenses or IDs would be invalidated, many of them who have had them invalidated. We're saying that violates Indiana law," said Falk.

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union wants the State Court of Appeals to reinstate those licenses and IDs, forcing the BMV to explain its actions.

"The BMV was not sending out invalidation notices to people," said Frances Barrow, deputy attorney general.

"Yes, they were," said Judge Patricia Riley at the Indiana Court of Appeals. "They were going to take their license away."

"It was a notice of the bureau's interpretation of existing law," said Barrow.

"Didn't they say if you didn't come in and take care of it, that your license or ID card would be revoked?" said Judge Cale Bradford.

"That's the concern," said Barrow. "That somebody has a Social Security card with a name on it that's not the one that they're using as their legal name."

Even if drivers have a certified court order showing a legal name change, the BMV won't restore the license. The agency only wants one thing: the legal Indiana name to match the Social Security record.

"It's a matter of a national database that shows everyone's names that is on the Social Security records - that are birth records that this is who people are," said Barrow.

"Now you're scaring me," said Judge Riley.

You can watch the entire oral argument here or if that doesn't work, this should start the nearly one-hour RealAudio video (after about 3 minutes of "title only.").

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 18, 2008 05:25 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions