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Friday, January 10, 2014

Ind. Decisions - More on: 7th Circuit 2-1 ruling today in case out of Illinois has 3 opinions

Updating this ILB post from Wednesday, Bruce Vielmetti of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote yesterday about the opinion in the paper's Proof & Hearsay Blog ("Crime, courts and legal issues in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin"):

In his dissent, Judge David Frank Hamilton, an Indiana judge appointed by President Barack Obama, calls the matter a simple case of an ordinance that is "unconstitutional on its face."

Hamilton calls the booking fee in essence a criminal fine applied to those who may not ever be convicted, or even charged, or who may not even have been lawfully arrested. The village ordinance includes no remedy for such people to obtain refunds.

He says the most difficult question in the case may be whether the defense of the booking fee is more akin to the fiction of Lewis Carroll (the Queen of Hearts' philosophy of sentence first, verdict after) or George Orwell, suggesting that to call the $30 charge a user fee is like something from the latter's Ministry of Truth in "1984," where language means the opposite of what it states, like "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."

Hamilton notes that at oral argument, Woodridge's lawyer actually suggested the $30 is justified because even the wrongly arrested person gets a benefit from being photographed and fingerprinted by the jail, an argument Hamilton called "truly Orwellian."

The decision is gaining attention from legal commentators around the country.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 10, 2014 08:28 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions