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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Ind. Courts - Still more on "Judge rules against Indiana BMV in ‘0INK’ license plate case"

Updating earlier posts from today (here and here), Tim Evans of the IndyStar now has an updated story with a don't miss slide show of plates approved and disapproved by the BMV. Some quotes:

Marion Superior Judge James Osborn found that the standards the BMV used to assess the appropriateness of personalized license plates violated the First Amendment and Indiana law and ordered that they cease being used. Osborn also found the state agency had not properly adopted the rules it used in making such decisions. * * *

The ruling also noted apparent inconsistencies in what the BMV would allow and what the agency would deny. Some examples: "SXY" was denied, but "BIGGSXY" was approved. "FOX*LIES" was denied, but "FOX NEWS" was approved. "BIBLE*H8R" was denied, but "BIBLE4ME" was approved. * * *

In his order, Judge Osborn ordered the BMV to:

  • Immediately reinstate the personalized license plate program

  • Allow Vawter to obtain the "0INK" pate if he reapplies and not deny another plaintiff, Jay Voigt, a plate that says "UNHOLY."

  • Properly establish rules for the review of a plate request.

  • Inform customers who had a request denied or revoked in the past of the new ruling and how to reapply.
The judge ordered the BMV to pay attorney fees for the plaintiffs.

The ruling is the latest in a series of legal complications for the BMV. In 2013, the BMV had to agree to repay Hoosiers after overcharging for driver's licenses. The agency also agreed to restore the specialty plate for the Indiana Youth Group, which supports gay, bisexual, transgender and sexually questioning youth.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 8, 2014 03:31 PM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions