Supreme Court to hear amicus brief argument

HSPA Foundation has funded several amicus briefs this year on behalf of First Amendment protection.

An oral argument date has been set by the Indiana Supreme Court in a case involving an amicus brief filed by the HSPA Foundation.

Steve Badger of Indian­apolis law firm Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aron­off, will argue on behalf of the Foundation.

The case, Indiana News­papers dba The Indianapolis Star v. Jeffrey Miller, involves an attempt by Miller to force the newspaper to reveal the identity of an anonymous poster to its website so he can sue for libel.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against The Star, which then appealed to the state Supreme Court.

The Foundation brief asks the court to find discovery orders to newspapers that raise First Amendment issues can be appealed when the constitutional issue would become moot if an appeal were denied.

The arguments will be heard Sept. 26 by the five justices.

The Star case is one of four amicus briefs that involve the Foundation this year.

Badger is also the attorney for the Foundation’s brief in Evansville Courier & Press v. Vanderburgh County Health Department.

The Indiana Court of Appeals has accepted submission of the brief.

The Foundation is asking the three-judge panel to overturn a trial court ruling that certificates of death containing the cause of death are confidential.

The Indiana Supreme Court has set Sept. 12 as the date to hear oral arguments on another case with a Foundation brief – Daniel Brewington v. State of Indiana.

Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law wrote the brief that represents the HSPA Foundation and other entities.

The Volokh brief asks the justices to overturn a state Court of Appeals interpretation of I.C. 35-45-2-1 (intimidation) that criminalizes a broad range of constitutionally protected speech.

The decision endangers the free speech rights of journalists, policy advocates, politicians and ordinary citizens, said Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has filed a brief agreeing that the trial court decision is overly broad.

In a legal disappointment, the state Supreme Court voted 3-2 to deny the transfer of Seth Anderson v. Huntington Police Depart­ment from the Court of Appeals.

Jim Dimos of Frost Brown Todd in Indianapolis wrote the Foundation’s brief asking the Supreme Court to give guidance on the meaning of “reasonable particularity” in the state’s Access to Public Records Act.

The case could have resolved conflicting Indiana Court of Appeals decisions as to the meaning of reasonable particularity.

“Contributions from member newspapers help the Foundation take an active role in protecting the First Amendment and Hoosiers’ right to know what their government units are doing or contemplating,” Key said.