Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Indiana Court of Appeals Sets Oral Arguments for November 21, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. on a Case that may Regulate/Limit First Amendment Political Speech

The Court of Appeals of Indiana filed an Order Scheduling Oral Argument in the case of Daniel Brewington vs. State of Indiana; Cause No: 15A01-1110-CR-550. 
Trial Court Case No. 15D02-1103-FD-0084

Arguments are scheduled to be heard:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.
Indiana Court of Appeals Courtroom,
Statehouse, Room 413,
Indianapolis, Indiana, 46204
The argument is scheduled for web-cast at and will be televised on a monitor outside of the Court of Appeals Courtroom.

Excerpt from the beginning of Brewington's attorney's response.
[A] function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, ... is nevertheless protected against censorship and punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest. ... There is no room under our Constitution for a more restrictive view. For the alternative would lead to standardization of ideas either by legislatures, courts, or dominant political or community groups.
Terminello v. City of Chicago, 337 U.S. 1, 4-5 (1949) (internal citations omitted).
The Supreme Court could have added prosecutors to that list; their nearly unfettered discretion could allow them to censor speech that they disagree with or find bothersome. For this reason, the First Amendment constrains prosecutorial discretion.
From the very beginning of Brewington's prosecution, the State has shown no concern for these principles. Brewington may not have had the rhetorical skill of Thomas Paine, but like 18th Century pamphleteers, he used a popular forum of expression in his time (here, the Internet) to complain about unfair treatment by an oppressive system. This case is not just an appeal of a wrongful conviction. It is a challenge to this Court to re-affirm the fundamental right of free expression.
Dan Brewington’s appellant brief states “Aaron Negangard, the Dearborn County, Indiana, Prosecutor, took personal umbrage with Brewington exercising his First Amendment rights and silenced him by indicting Brewington with three felonies and three misdemeanors”…

A blog post with links to Dan Brewington’s appellant brief, appellant reply, and Motion for Oral Arguments, and to Deputy Attorney General Whitehead’s appellee brief.
The court finally locates the missing transcripts, part 1 and part 2:
A letter to Mr. G. Michael Witte, Executive Secretary of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.
Media Attention:
Divorce Corp. Full length documentary that is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2012.
Fathers & Families
Dan Brewington, Norwood (Cincinnati), Ohio, blogger, was sentenced to 5 years in prison in Indiana for blogging, October 24, 2011. Dan is currently serving his sentence in the Putnamville Correctional Facility, Greencastle, IN.

Dan Brewington criticized the family court system and county government in Dearborn County, Indiana, on the internet.  Brewington was convicted of Intimidating a Judge, Judge James D. Humphrey, with absolutely no threat of physical violence issued, anyplace. Dan Brewington received a $600,000 bond from Judge Sally Blankenship who 5 days later recused herself, citing conflict of interest but the excessive bond remained. Dan was later convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for publically criticizing judges and public officials. Now a man with no criminal history, no history of violence, no history of drug or alcohol abuse, and a perfect record of caring for his girls for 2 ½ years, sits in an Indiana State Prison. He hasn’t seen his girls for over 3 years.

The attempts by the Dearborn County Indiana Judicial System to control internet speech could not be clearer. Prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard told the jury that Brewington wrote too much.  If the Court of Appeals affirms the trial court’s ruling, political speech will be subject to prosecution at the discretion of prosecutors and judges.

1 comment:

  1. Like I said before, those people whom have done wrong don't want this too come to the Light. Let the light shine where those whom don't want it. Guess this is the start.

    We wish you all the best and get the best ruling. Such a shame humans treat other humans this way. Hope you get to see your children soon.

    Keep us posted.