Davis had previously appeared before the board to appeal a total of $200 in fines imposed for the city’s notices of violations, saying that the materials that are stacked around his property are not garbage, but rather building materials and tools. They’re needed for the kind of active construction site he is overseeing, he has said.
That’s the position that Davis has outlined in a tort claim that he has sent to the city. The claim is against the city of Bloomington, the HAND department, the department of public works, and the board of public works.
They had asked the judge to grant them additional time for signature collection, under a state statute that provides certain emergency powers [IC 34-7-6-1]. The emergency in question is the COVID-19 pandemic.
A status conference with the judge and the parties to the lawsuit is set for March 3.
Video screen inside the Charlotte Zietlow Justice Center, showing visitors where proceedings are taking place for the day.
Charlotte Zietlow Justice Center at 7th Street and College Avenue.
Room 313 at the north end of the second floor hallway, where Friday’s proceeding was held.
At the end of a Friday hearing that lasted about an hour and 20 minutes, special judge Nathan Nikirk did not issue a ruling in the case that remonstrators against Bloomington’s annexation have brought to the court.
Friday’s hearing involved the remonstrators in Area 1A and Area 1B, who collected signatures from more than 50 percent of land owners, which was enough to qualify for judicial review, but fell short of the 65 percent threshold that would have stopped annexation outright.
Area 1A is just west of Bloomington. Area 1B lies to the southwest.
Remonstrators in those two areas are asking that the judge grant them additional time for signature collection, under a state statute that provides certain emergency powers. [IC 34-7-6-1] The emergency in question is the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the fact that the judge didn’t issue a ruling on Friday, based on the clarification that Nikirk requested from both sides during the hearing, his eventual decision could depend on the interpretation of the word “proceeding” as used in the statute on emergency powers. Nikirk wanted both sides to lay out how they understand the concept of “proceeding” under that statute.
The statute refers to the emergency powers as applying to a “proceeding…pending before a court, a body, or an official, that exists under the constitution or laws of Indiana.”
At the end of the hearing, Nikirk asked both sides to prepare proposed orders on the question by Jan. 6, 2023.
It will not be a Monroe County judge who tries the case of Vauhxx Booker, a former Bloomington resident who two and a half weeks ago was charged by special prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp with battery and criminal trespass.
On Tuesday afternoon at a scheduled hearing, Monroe County circuit court judge Valeri Haughton announced that she would be recusing herself from the case.
Leerkamp was appointed to handle the charges of Booker’s two alleged assailants, which include battery and criminal confinement. She charged Booker, after a restorative justice process did not come to a successful resolution.
One of Leerkamp’s court filings pegged the timeframe for the collapse of the restorative justice process as exactly a year after the incident: “on or about July 4, 2021.”
The charges against all three men arose in connection with an incident that took place a year ago on July 4, near Lake Monroe. Booker described it as an “attempted lynching.”
A back-and-forth between Haughton and Booker’s attorney, Katherine Liell, drew out the fact that all the other Monroe County judges had also recused themselves.
That means it will be the Indiana Supreme Court that decides which judge will hear Booker’s case. Tuesday’s hearing could have been the occasion of the initial hearing, when Booker would have offered a plea.
That will now wait until it is determined who the judge will be.