Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court, a 467-page multi-author volume exploring the lives of the 106 Justices of the Court, is now available from the Indiana Historical Society Press. Edited by Linda C. Gugin and James E. St. Clair, it examines the lives of the 106 men and women who have sat on the state’s highest court. The book includes an introduction by the Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr.
With 72 authors, the book captures details of the lives of the self-taught, circuit riding Justices from the early days of statehood through the 21st century Justices now serving on the Court. Photographs, including those from previously unpublished private family collections, complete the edition. The public can purchase the book at the Indiana Historical Society for $37.95.
The Supreme Court’s educational outreach program, “Courts in the Classroom” (CITC) collaborated with the Indiana Historical Society Press on Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court. The Indiana Bar Foundation made a grant in support of the project. CITC’s primary objective is to help educators, students, historians, and interested citizens learn about the history and operation of Indiana’s judicial branch. As part of its outreach, CITC provides free lesson plans to teachers, interactive programs in the state Supreme Courtroom and publications about Indiana’s legal history. For more information please contact Dr. Elizabeth R. Osborn at email@example.com or visit courts.in.gov/citc. CITC will offer the book to schools and libraries across the state at no cost.
Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard sees the book as a valuable addition to civics education. “This book has remarkable historic value,” explained Chief Justice Shepard. “We are thrilled that students, educators and the public will have this resource that showcases the rich history of the third branch of government.”
The Indiana Supreme Court and CITC previously collaborated with the Indiana Historical Society Press on the publication of Hoosier Justice at Nuremberg ($6.95). The Nuremberg book, by Suzanne S. Bellamy, examines the roles of two Indiana Supreme Court Justices in post-World War II Germany. In 1947, Justices Frank Richman of Columbus and Curtis Shake of Vincennes were called to serve as civilian judges in the Nuremberg tribunals.
These books and other Supreme Court publications (courts.in.gov/citc/bookstore.html) are available to libraries, teachers and all other educational institutions free of charge. Requests should be sent to Sarah Kidwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Continuing Legal Education program will be offered on Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm in the Supreme Court Courtroom featuring authors from the book. Reservations are required. Contact Elizabeth Osborn at email@example.com.
Be sure to check out IP Theory, a new peer-edited intellectual property law publication hosted by Indiana University Maurer School of Law’s IP Program. It is neither law journal nor blog; it is a different sort of publication designed to occupy a niche between the two.
IP Theory is intended to serve as a forum for:
- essays or opinion pieces that are more concise (and more lightly footnoted) than typical law review articles
- book reviews
- reviews of literature – either IP scholarly literature or literature in allied fields
So who’s going to submit an article to IP Theory?
A Legal Primer for Bloggers, Part 5 – Privacy
It’s only taken a year, but I’ll finally wrap up this blog series. I will be speaking on these topics (legal issues that bloggers should be thinking about) at the upcoming Blog Indiana conference, the very conference that inspired these posts one year ago. Blog Indiana is a blogging and social media conference that aims to promote education, innovation and collaboration among Indiana’s fast-growing blogging community. This year I hope to provide some of the important legal content missing from last year’s conference.
Without further ado, this final blog post will discuss privacy issues, including what you can and cannot share about others, distinguishing between private and “newsworthy” information. Privacy law is the area of law concerned with the protection and preservation of the privacy rights of individuals, including you, me and Lindsay Lohan. Privacy law is a big deal on the internet, where private information can be spread quickly and widely with just a mouse-click.
What is private information?
No legal jargon here…private information is simply personal details about someone that has not been disclosed to the public. If information is publicly disclosed by a person about himself, it moves into the public domain and will no longer be considered “private.”
Can you be sued for publishing somebody else’s private information?
Some jurisdictions allow lawsuits for the publication of private information. Whether Indiana recognizes a legal claim for publication of private information is unsettled. Before 1997, Indiana’s lower courts clearly recognized such a claim. In 1997, a divided Indiana Supreme Court decision saw two Justices rule that Indiana law did not recognize a legal claim for publication of private facts, while three other Justices agreed with the result in the case but not with their reasoning. Later courts have disagreed on whether this claim still exists in Indiana.
To the extent that Indiana law still recognizes a publication of private information claim, the elements are:
- a public disclosure of private information concerning the plaintiff that would be highly offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities;
- to persons who have no legitimate interest in the information;
- in a manner that is coercive and oppressive.
Publication on a blog will almost certainly be considered public disclosure. Be aware that you could be subject to the laws of another jurisdiction besides Indiana.
What is “highly offensive and objectionable” to a reasonable person?
To state a claim for public disclosure of private information, a plaintiff must show that the matter made public was one that would be “highly offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities.” Exactly what qualifies, as you might imagine, changes over time, varies from location to location and from jury to jury. Caselaw can provide a good idea of how courts have treated this requirement in the past, but social mores and the jury’s “gut” will ultimately make the call.
Based on the above, the media, paparazzi and much of the blogosphere would be up a certain creek without a paddle, since they couldn’t reveal private information about anyone. However, every rule has an exception. If private information is deemed “newsworthy,” it may be legal to print it even if it might be considered “highly offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person.”
Who determines if private information is “newsworthy”?
Indiana law does not impose liability for publication of information that is of legitimate public interest (i.e., newsworthy).
Private information is newsworthy if some reasonable members of the community could entertain a legitimate interest in it. Courts generally recognize that the public has a legitimate interest in almost all recent events, even if it involves private information about participants, as well as a legitimate interest in the private lives of prominent or notorious figures (such as actors, actresses, professional athletes, public officers, noted inventors, or war heroes). Newsworthiness is not limited to reports of current events, but extends to articles for the purposes of education, amusement, or enlightenment. However, a court may look at whether the private information is pertinent to an otherwise newsworthy story.
Courts applying Indiana law have found the following things to be newsworthy:
- a suspected arsonist’s loan status disclosed by a bank to an arson investigator;
- debts owed by the employees of a company disclosed by a creditor to the employer; and
- the details of an extramarital affair related to a sexual harassment claim against agents of the State Lottery Commission of Indiana made public by the media.
I hope bloggers have found the information in these posts to be helpful. Please leave a comment or send an email if you’d like additional information. See you at Blog Indiana 2010!
A Legal Primer for Bloggers
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Intellectual Property
Part 3: Defamation
Part 4: Anonymity
Part 5: PRIVACY
DISCLAIMER: The legal analysis of any situation depends on a variety of factors which cannot be properly represented or accounted for on a blog or web page. The information on this blog is intended as general information only, and is not intended to serve as legal advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. If you have a question about a specific factual situation, you should contact an attorney directly.
I’ll be speaking at Indy’s top Social Media & Blogging Conference, Blog Indiana. My session “A Legal Primer for Bloggers” will provide an overview of the key legal issues that bloggers should consider: Intellectual Property, Defamation, Anonymity and Privacy.
I’m happy to be able to provide readers of this blog a 10% discount. The code is “SPEAKTOME10” and is good starting today until all ticket sales end.
Hope to see you there.