June 28, 2003

Indiana Decisions - Marion County Superior Courts hear two

"Judge strikes down state death penalty" is the headline in this story in today's Indianapolis Star. A quote:

Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins found Indiana's law governing capital punishment unconstitutional and dismissed the death penalty against [the defendants]. In his rulings, Hawkins struck down the state's death penalty law because it gives judges the authority to impose death when jurors cannot make a decision. He ruled that the law violates a U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring that juries, not judges, make the final decision on whether a person is put to death.
A second Star story, titled "Bingo halls sue state over new regulations: Rule enforcement will be suspended until court hearing set for next month," may especially intrigue those of us with an interest in state administrative rulemaking. Some quotes:
Seven bingo halls are suing the Indiana Department of Revenue, claiming that new charity gaming regulations overstep legal boundaries, violate interstate commerce laws and will devastate the state's charities. * * *

Late Friday, the Revenue Department and the Indiana attorney general's office agreed to stop enforcing the new regulations until a July 25 court hearing, said Kenneth L. Miller, commissioner of the Revenue Department. Aimed at stopping illegal cash-skimming operations, the new rules require that each bingo operation give a set percentage of its gross revenue to charity, regardless of expenses. For example, any bingo hall that takes in more than $500,000 each year must give 10 percent of that to charity. * * *

The lawsuit alleges that the Revenue Department overstepped its authority by telling bingo operators how to donate those proceeds. It also alleges that the department bypassed the state's Legislative Services Agency in getting the rules approved. "The statute says the Department of Revenue is allowed to review the allowed expenses at an allowable event, not what people can do with their profits," said Marilyn Moores, an Indianapolis attorney representing the bingo halls. "They don't have the authority to do that."

Access the statute at issue (IC 4-32-7-3) here. The rules at issue appear to be 45 IAC 18-3 (Charitable Gaming) and particularly 45 IAC 18-3-7 (Use of Proceeds), available here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi at June 28, 2003 09:04 AM