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Friday, December 11, 2015

Ind. Courts - Efforts to lobby the Supreme Court never a good idea, attorney advises

The ILB has received copies of several emails attributed to a group called Watchdog Indiana. From Dec. 11:

Hello Watchdogs,

The December 8 Watchdog Indiana E-mail Update asked Watchdogs to contact our Indiana Supreme Court Justices to let them know that Indiana Senate Bill 330 passed last year by our Indiana General Assembly nullifies the substantial preference given to municipal annexation ordinances by various Indiana Appeals Court precedents, and that they should therefore consider all relevant evidence specific to the Fortville case to decide if the proposed annexation territory is actually needed and can be used for development in the reasonably near future.

Fight Against Forced Annexation (FAFA) is the organization formed by the Fortville remonstrators opposing the Fortville Annexation that will be decided by the Indiana Supreme Court. The FAFA President in the following E-mail asks that no one contact the Supreme Court Justices because it could be detrimental to the outcome of their case:

Aaron,

XXXX XXXX forwarded your email to me about contacting the Supreme Court justices regarding our case.

I respectfully ask you to immediately withdraw the request to all those you contacted. Our attorney has advised us not to participate in this as it is completely improper to influence judges through political pressure. This could hurt our case instead of helping it as judges do not respond positively to this kind of extra-judicial activity. This action could be interpreted as interference in our case.

While your intentions may be honorable, as President of FAFA, I am strongly encouraging you to withdraw this request. This is on the advice of our attorney, who we have complete faith and confidence in. We trust him with our case.

[name deleted by ILB]
FAFA President

The Watchdog email concludes:
It may very well be “appropriate” for Watchdogs to abide by the wishes of FAFA remonstrators and NOT contact the Indiana Supreme Court Justices regarding the Fortville annexation case. However, Watchdog Indiana is frustrated by any suggestion that it is proper for everyday Hoosiers to avoid full participation in the public arena – that it is “completely improper to influence judges” by directly expressing an opinion on an important matter of public policy.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 11, 2015 10:53 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts