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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Ind. Decisions - Identifying the Articles of the Indiana Constitution [Updated]

Looking at today's Court of Appeals opinion (Vaughen) and its instructive footnote 2 spelling out instances when simple redaction of confidential information is sufficient in public access filings, the ILB would be remiss if it did not also call attention to footnote 2 in yesterday's Supreme Court opinion in the case of Bonner v. Daniels.

A number of the attorneys in the case, listed on p. 1 of the opinion, were from out -of-state. Footnote 2 reads:

The plaintiffs use Roman numerals to identify the articles of the Indiana Constitution. In contrast, we refer to them by the Arabic numerals that were used by the framers. To view the original document, visit The Digital Collections of IUPUI University Library, http://indiamond6.ulib.iupui.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/ISC&CISOPTR=7494&REC=12 (last visited Mar. 30, 2009); for print transcript, see Charles Kettleborough, I CONSTITUTION MAKING IN INDIANA 295-375 (Ind. Historical Bureau in Indianapolis ed. 1971) (1916), available at http://www.in.gov/history/2473.htm (last visited Mar. 30, 2009).
Today's decision in Vaughen cites a 2007 Supreme Court decision in Reid v. State. In that opinion, the Arabic numeral system used by the framers is not followed -- see this quote from p. 3 of Reid, which is also quoted on p. 3 of today's Court of Appeals opinion in Vaughen:
Although a trial court may have acted within its lawful discretion in determining a sentence, Article VII, Sections 4 and 6 of the Indiana Constitution authorize independent appellate review and revision of a sentence through Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B), which provides that a court “may revise a sentence authorized by statute if, after due consideration of the trial court’s decision, the Court finds that the sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender.” Anglemeyer v. State, 868 N.E.2d 482, 491 (Ind. 2007). The burden is on the defendant to persuade us that his sentence is inappropriate. Childress v. State, 848 N.E.2d 1073 (Ind. 2006). Reid has met this burden. We conclude that his sentence is inappropriate.
Notice that Roman numerals were used in this 2007 Supreme Court opinion to identify the Articles of the Indiana Constitution.

What is the Supreme Court's statement yesterday in Bonner important? More than a matter of style, the lack of consistency in citations to our Indiana Constitution has become a significant problem in the digital age, because a search for cases that reference "Article VII", for instance, may turn up completely different[ results than a search referencing "Article 7."

[More] A reader has just sent this note:

Interesting post. Many, if not most, of the court's recent opinions have used Roman not Arabic numbers. For example, if you do a Lexis search of Indiana cases from the last five years, "Article VII, Section 4" yields 39, while "Article 7, Section 4" yields 19.

It's good to know that's not correct and presumably should change in the future. It might be helpful if the Court amended Appellate Rule 22(B) to include the proper citation form for constitutional provisions. (Nothing is mentioned currently.) Otherwise, the default is to use the Bluebook, and the Bluebook provides all of its examples in Roman. (Rule 11)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 3, 2009 11:49 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions