Thursday, June 01, 2017
This wasn't what I meant to paste into this post. But I'll put it up anyway.
To: Mark Duncan
Center Township Constable
Julia Carson Center
I am writing concerning an event that took place today in the courtroom of the Center Township Small Claims Court.
I was present in the building for the purpose of filing a small claim. It was my first time in the building; my previous visits to marion county small claims were at the city-county building location.
Court was in session, so I stopped in to observe proceedings, while filling out my small claim.
I was approached by a bailiff, who told me that I could not be there, and ordered me to leave the courtroom. I reminded him that courts are open under Indiana law, and as a member of the public I had a right to be there. He was adamant that I must leave, so I left. His attitude was hostile, rude, authoritarian, and menacing. I went to the clerk’s window, and explained the problem. I was directed to speak to a senior clerk, who at first told me there was nothing she could do. I asked who was in charge and was given your name.
I sat on the floor in the hallway to fill out my paperwork. The clerk who took my filing was helpful and professional, kudos to her.
Later, this same senor clerk told me that she had spoken to the judge, that I did have a right to be in the courtroom, that the bailiff was new. The bailiff was present but did not speak to me.
Because the problem was promptly resolved, I do not think it will necessary for me to file a notice of tort claim.
Let me identify some of the legal issues involved.
When I was unwillingly ejected from the courtroom, my rights under the open courts provision of the Indiana constitution were violated.
My right to due course of law under Article I section 12 was violated.
When a person is ejected, under color of law, from a place she has a right to be, this constitutes a seizure, both under Article I section 11, and the Fourth Amendment.
Consequently, an action under 42 USC 1983 would be in order.
I am a person who has previously won a case against the county, Stewart v Taylor, which came out of my race for Township Board, so I have an interest in trying to correct problems when the township or county is violating the rights of citizens. Please train and supervise the bailiff so that this sort of incident does not recur. I would appreciate receiving a written letter from the bailiff – either to firstname.lastname@example.org, or P O Box 29164, so that I can see that they understand what they did wrong and how it isn’t going to happen again. If I receive a satisfactory letter, that will conclude the matter.
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