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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Ind. Courts - "Judge rules against Indiana BMV in ‘0INK’ license plate case" [Updated]

Tim Evans has the story this morning for the Indianapolis Star. Some quotes:

A Marion County judge issued a summary judgment Wednesday in favor of a Greenfield police officer who sued the Bureau of Motor Vehicles after the agency revoked his personal vanity license plate that said "0ink."

The ruling came in the challenge brought by Rodney Vawter, who filed his lawsuit against the BMV in May 2013. Vawter claimed the decision violated his First Amendment rights.

He was represented by the Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Because of the suit, the BMV suspended the vanity plate program last July.

For three years, Vawter had a license plate that read "0INK" — with a zero in place of the O — but when he tried to renew it in March 2013, it was rejected.

The lawsuit says Vawter considers the plate's verbal pig snort "an ironic statement of pride in his profession."

[Updated at 10:25 AM] Scott Malone of Reuters had a story yesterday that reported:
(Reuters) - A New Hampshire man has the right to drive around the New England state with a license plate reading "COPSLIE," the state's top court ruled on Wednesday.

The state Supreme Court upheld a challenge to Department of Motor Vehicles' rules, finding they were unconstitutionally broad by allowing officials to deny requests for vanity license plates that "a reasonable person would find offensive to good taste." * * *

The court ruled that rules based on standards of taste were too broad and therefore likely to be used arbitrarily or in a discriminatory fashion.

"We question whether prohibition of accusations of moral turpitude would constitute 'viewpoint-neutral' regulation," three justices wrote in a decision sending the matter back to a lower court in the state, whose motto is "Live Free or Die."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 8, 2014 10:09 AM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions