Ind. Supreme Court Won’t Rehear Brewington Appeal
By Mike Perleberg
(Dearborn County, Ind.) – The Indiana Supreme Court has declined to rehear the appeal of blogger Dan Brewington, once imprisoned for his online posts about a Dearborn County judge.
Brewington, of Norwood, Ohio, was convicted of Intimidation of a Judge by a Dearborn County jury in October of 2011. He served about 2 1/2 years in prison and jail as part of his sentence.
In May, the state Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion declining to overturn Brewington’s conviction. He had argued that his blog postings about Judge James D. Humphrey were free speech protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
After the ruling, Brewington filed a pro se motion asking for a rehearing of his case by the state supreme court without justice Loretta Rush – she was named the court’s first female chief justice on Wednesday. Rush, he argued, should recuse or disqualify herself from the case.
The blogger claimed Rush’s past experience as the victim of a home invasion in which her husband was nearly murdered made her biased. Brewington also called to attention that Rush, who wrote the May opinion, served with Humphrey on the Juvenile Justice Improvement Committee and that they graduated together from the Indiana University School of Law in 1983.
On July 31, the supreme court justices ruled to deny Brewington’s request for a rehearing of the case without Rush.
“Having carefully considered the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct, including but not limited to rules 1.1, 1.2, 2.4, and 2.11 and all the judicial canons in view of appellant’s motion, I respectfully find no basis to recuse or disqualify myself from this court’s further deliberations,” Rush wrote in her order.
ICJC Rule 2.11 puts disqualification decisions to the individual judge or justice concerned.
Citing the same rule, Chief Justice Brent E. Dickson wrote in a separate order that the full court expresses unanimous concurrence with Rush’s decision not to disqualify herself.
On his blog, Brewington posted Wednesday about Rush being named the new chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, urging Indiana voters to vote not to retain her when marking their ballots in November.
“This is the same Justice who wrote a Supreme Court decision stating that a defense attorney can waive a person’s constitutionally protected right to free speech. Justice Rush also wrote that taking advantage of a prosecution’s weak case or argument, by not raising issues on behalf of the prosecution could waive constitutionally protected rights. And now Justice Rush sits on top of the Indiana Judicial System,” Brewington’s long post began in part.