Monday, February 13, 2012

Supreme Court Rules Gov. Daniels Is Immune From Being Deposed In IBM Case

The Indiana Supreme Court wasted no time after hearing oral arguments this morning in reversing an order granted by Marion Co. Superior Court David Dreyer in the case involving the cancellation of IBM's billion-dollar contract with the state's Family & Social Services Administration to privatize welfare services requiring Gov. Mitch Daniels to be deposed. Late this afternoon, the Supreme Court issued a brief order reversing Judge Dreyer, holding that the immunity from civil arrest authorized to certain state officials under I.C. 34-29-2-1 extends to depositions in cases like this one even where the evidence shows the governor was intimately involved with the decisions related to IBM's contract. A later opinion will follow in due course explaining the Court's decision to reverse Judge Dreyer the order reads.

The month of February will be a month of big political decisions for the state's Supreme Court. The court will hear a dispute among Indiana lawmakers over whether the Indiana House of Representatives can impose fines for members' unexcused absences and deduct the fines from their pay. It will also be deciding whether Marion Co. Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg erred in reversing a unanimous decision of the state's Recount Commission that Charlie White was eligible to hold the office of secretary of state. The Supreme Court will get to decide whether White's Democratic opponent, Vop Osili, will become secretary of state or a person appointed by Gov. Daniels. White forfeited the office by law after a Hamilton Co. jury found him guilty of six felony counts earlier this month. It's highly unusual for the state's Supreme Court to have so many highly-charged political decisions on its plate in such a short period of time. It will provide an unprecedented opportunity for Chief Justice Randall Shepard to leave a lasting mark in shaping Indiana law on these critical political issues.

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