« Catch-up: What did you miss over the weekend from the ILB? | Main | Ind. Courts - "Status of law professor at issue in William Hurt trial" »

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Petition to transfer filed in Brewington, along with amicus brief with many signatories

Updating this ILB entry from Jan. 31st, and several earlier ILB entries posted under the heading "Blogger Jailed; Allegedly Threatened Dearborn Judge", EagleCountry 99.3FM, which has been closely following this story from the beginning, posts today:

(Rising Sun, Ind.) – A man convicted of intimidating a judge in Dearborn County is trying to take his case to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Dan Brewington is serving a five-year prison sentence following his conviction on Intimidation of a Judge, two counts of Intimidation, Obstruction of Justice, and Perjury in a 2011 jury trial. Prosecutors persuaded jurors that the Internet blogger threatened Dearborn Circuit Court Judge James Humphrey and others in his online writings.

Last month, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned part of Brewington’s conviction. However, his convictions for Intimidation of a Judge, Obstruction of Justice, and Perjury were upheld along with the five-year prison sentence.

On Thursday, Brewington’s attorney filed a petition to get the case in front of the Indiana Supreme Court.

In the briefing, the jailed blogger’s attorney, Michael K. Sutherland, alleges that his first amendment rights were violated.

“For these reasons, Brewington respectfully requests the Court grant transfer, vacate the decision of the Court of Appeals, reverse his convictions for intimidation, attempted obstruction of justice and perjury, and enter verdicts of acquittal. Alternatively, Brewington asks for a new trial on the charges of intimidation and attempted obstruction of justice at which his federal and state constitutional rights will be given full protection,” Sutherland wrote.

Sutherland also claims that Brewington’s Perjury conviction should be thrown out because it related to a Dearborn County Grand Jury proceeding in which Prosecutor Aaron Negangard asked Brewington a question. Brewington’s answer was interrupted by the prosecutor.

“The State should not be able to prosecute a witness for perjury based on an incomplete statement when the State is responsible for it being incomplete,” Sutherland said.

In addition, as posted earlier, UCLA Law Prof Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy has filed an amicus brief in the case. In this Feb. 15th post he writes:
Last month I blogged about State v. Brewington, an Indiana Court of Appeals decisions that I thought was inconsistent with the First Amendment. I’m pleased to say that today (with the help of local counsel Jim Bopp and Justin McAdam) I filed a pro bono amicus brief urging the Indiana Supreme Court to consider the case.

The brief was filed on behalf of Eagle Forum, the Hoosier State Press Association Foundation, the Indianapolis Star, the Indiana Association Of Scholars, the Indiana Coalition for Open Government, the James Madison Center for Free Speech, Nuvo (Indy’s Alternative Voice), and Professors James W. Brown, Anthony Fargo, Sheila S. Kennedy — all Indiana professors of journalism or public policy — as well as myself.

Many thanks to all the others for agreeing to sign on, to Jim and Justin for their pro bono help, and to Mayer Brown LLP, the firm with which I’m a part-part-part-part-time academic affiliate, for paying the various filing and printing costs.

That's right, Jim Bopp AND Sheila Kennedy! Volokh then proceeds to writes: "In any event, I thought I’d blog the amicus brief, in parts, since it discusses some questions that I think are of broader interest."

Here are the lengthy posts: Part 1; Part 2; and Part 3, titled, respectively:

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 18, 2013 09:24 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions