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Teenager Wins Email Suit Against City of Kokomo 354

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the when-to-hold-and-when-to-fold dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Recently, a 16 year old sued the city of Kokomo, Indiana for access to an email list that he suspected the mayor was mis-using for political purposes. Despite the mayor's refusal to give in, the teenager won the case. The city will have to pay not only for the expensive attorneys they hired, but may have to compensate the 16 year old's pro-bono counsel."
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Teenager Wins Email Suit Against City of Kokomo

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  • by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:36AM (#14775615)
    You can't fight city hall! Or rather, you can fight city hall but the universe will implode if you win. Way to go, I never got to see France.
  • by DamnedNice (955496) <admin@damnednice.com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:39AM (#14775625) Homepage
    As I understand it, Pro-Bono means the lawyer works for free for a case they believe will win them points and get people to like them (the lawyer, that is). How do you compensate a volunteer? Or am I just totally off base here?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:45AM (#14775650)
      In this case its more like a bet. If he lost, he got nothing. The boy wouldn't have to pay, no money gained. But if he won, all the lawyers expensives (paralegals, all those billable hours/minutes/seconds) get a value assigned to them, and under the rules of the law, can be paid by the city, which lost. I think.

      Kokomo.. didn't the Eagles sing something about that.. or was that somewhere in hawaii?
      • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:20AM (#14775785) Homepage Journal
        "Pro bono" on the other hand is short for pro bono publicum -- "for the good of the public".

        It's a quaint idea, doing something because it's the right thing to do. I don't doubt that increased notoriety is an incentive for pro bono work, although many pro bono cases are ones that will never garner much attention. In this case, I think the judge was eager to punish the defendant, and ordered the pro bono attorney's fees calculated so he'd have an excuse for making the punishment heavier.
        • by Brunellus (875635) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @10:24AM (#14776164) Homepage

          actually, it's "pro bono publico"-- since the adjective (publico) modifies the object (bono) of the preposition (pro), it must agree in case (in this case, ablative).

          I might not know a lick about C syntax, but I can certainly remember my Latin....

          • by mjpaci (33725) * on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @10:41AM (#14776294) Homepage Journal
            Great. That's what Slashdot needs, Latin Grammar Nazis.

            Hic, haec, hoc
            Huius, huius, huis ... ...

            --Mike
            • I, for one (Score:5, Funny)

              by Brunellus (875635) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:05AM (#14776460) Homepage

              Ego, ex mea parte, saluto dominos nostros novos grammaticos!

            • by ephemeraleuphoria (640619) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:11AM (#14776497) Homepage
              Brian is writing a slogan on a wall, oblivious to the Roman patrol approaching from behind. The slogan is "ROMANES EUNT DOMUS".

              Centurion: What's this thing? "ROMANES EUNT DOMUS"? "People called Romanes they go the house?"
              Brian: It... it says "Romans go home".
              Centurion: No it doesn't. What's Latin for "Roman"?

              Brian hesitates

              Centurion: Come on, come on!
              Brian: (uncertain) "ROMANUS".
              Centurion: Goes like?
              Brian: "-ANUS".
              Centurion: Vocative plural of "-ANUS" is?
              Brian: "-ANI".
              Centurion: (takes paintbrush from Brian and paints over) "RO-MA-NI". "EUNT"? What is "EUNT"?
              Brian: "Go".
              Centurion: Conjugate the verb "to go"!
              Brian: "IRE". "EO", "IS", "IT", "IMUS", "ITIS", "EUNT".
              Centurion: So "EUNT" is ...?
              Brian: Third person plural present indicative, "they go".
              Centurion: But "Romans, go home!" is an order, so you must use the ...?

              He lifts Brian by his short hairs

              Brian: The ... imperative.
              Centurion: Which is?
              Brian: Um, oh, oh, "I", "I"!
              Centurion: How many Romans? (pulls harder)
              Brian: Plural, plural! "ITE".

              Centurion strikes over "EUNT" and paints "ITE" on the wall

              Centurion: "I-TE". "DOMUS"? Nominative? "Go home", this is motion towards, isn't it, boy?
              Brian: (very anxious) Dative?

              Centurion draws his sword and holds it to Brian's throat

              Brian: Ahh! No, ablative, ablative, sir. No, the, accusative, accusative, ah, DOMUM, sir.
              Centurion: Except that "DOMUS" takes the ...?
              Brian: ... the locative, sir!
              Centurion: Which is?
              Brian: "DOMUM".
              Centurion: (satisfied) "DOMUM"...

              He strikes out "DOMUS" and writes "DOMUM"

              Centurian: ..."-MUM". Understand?
              Brian: Yes sir.
              Centurion: Now write it down a hundred times.
              Brian: Yes sir, thank you sir, hail Caesar, sir.
              Centurion: (saluting) Hail Caesar. If it's not done by sunrise, I'll cut your balls off.
              Brian: (very relieved) Oh thank you sir, thank you sir, hail Caesar and everything, sir!
            • I didn't realize we had so many cunning linguists here...

              Another Latin phrase we used as pledges of my fraternity on a banner for the Delta Delta Delta Decathalon:

              Veni, Vidi, VD. I came, I saw, I canckered.

              Needless to say, the ladies of Tri-Delt were not impressed.

              --Mike
               
      • ahem, beach boys
      • by Shanep (68243)
        Kokomo.. didn't the Eagles sing something about that.. or was that somewhere in hawaii?

        I think that was the Beach Boys. Although I think you're refering to Cocomug, which some of them might be sipping right now in their retirement home.
    • What gets me about the compensating-the-teen's-lawyer angle is that apparently the taxpayer's are paying for it.

      Shouldn't -- in a more perfect world -- the people who actually misbehaved pay, not the political entity that they were elected to? Which ultimately means, the taxpayers?

      Now to work. And when I get home, I'll see if the issue is addressed in the actual article, or in posts I haven't read yet. -Eric
      • Nope. The people who misbehaved were elected to their positions by the very same group that will pay more in taxes (or suffer reduced services, two sides of the same coin) as a result of this lawsuit. They do bear some responsibility, and it's going to be very hard to see a situation where the governed demand accountability if they themselves aren't held at least somewhat accountable for the misdeeds of the people they elect.

        Otherwise we'd all feel free to elect Governor Robert Maxwell, who'd have free re

    • Aren't all lawyers required to do x/y cases pro bono as part of their liscence?

      Not that this guy maybe didn't do it purely out of the goodness of his heart anyway, I just think the idea is sweetly nostalgic.
        • Maybe not required, but wikipedia says "Lawyers are recommended under ethical rules to contribute at least fifty hours of pro bono service per year."

          I wonder how "recommended" it really is. I mean, you're recommended to give to the collections in church, but people give you dirty looks if you don't
          • I wonder how "recommended" it really is. I mean, you're recommended to give to the collections in church, but people give you dirty looks if you don't

            Especially when you run away with the plate.
          • "I mean, you're recommended to give to the collections in church, but people give you dirty looks if you don't"

            Since we're already off-topic, how do you figure this? Most people I know tithe once a month. You've usually got different ushers passing around the collection plate, so why in the world would somebody give you dirty looks if you've only got a one in four chance of putting anything in the pot per month anyway? I've been an usher, and I tend to avoid looking at people so that they *don't* think

    • In your rush to get the first post you seem to have skipped over the part about READING THE ARTICLE! If you would have taken the time to do so, you would have read that the Howard Circuit Judge Lynn Murray wanted the lawyers work accounted for.

      "Groth took the case on a pro-bono basis, but Murray asked for an accounting of Groth's fees in her ruling. Groth said Tuesday it's likely he could bill several thousand dollars for the case."

      Next time try to do your homework first.
    • If you are compensating a volunteer for his time, think like a tax collector. If I volunteer professional services for a nonprofit, I'll take a tax deduction equal to the pay I would have received if I had been originally paid for my time.
    • From TFA: "Groth took the case on a pro-bono basis, but Murray asked for an accounting of Groth's fees in her ruling. Groth said Tuesday it's likely he could bill several thousand dollars for the case."

      He apparently didn't ask for it, so it sounds like it's a little bit of a punitive slap at the city for wasting everyone's time.
  • Hoosier politics 101 (Score:5, Informative)

    by PrinceAshitaka (562972) * on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:40AM (#14775629) Homepage
    Much worse misusing of lists has occurred in Indiana. Before the national "do not call list" was implemented Indiana had one. Charitable organizations did not have to oblige by this list. But the FOP took it one step further, adding all the names on the "do not call list" to their call list. This undoubtedly led to them getting more than a few unlisted numbers in the process.
    • by MacBrave (247640)
      So that why I still get those dang FOP solicitation calls every year. I wonder how the FOP got the no-call list from the state anyway, since they didn't have to follow it in the first place?

    • I live in Indiana...The FOP thing is really bad. They call you and they have a list of the people that live in the house and will address the caller by their first name. The telemarketers stance themselves so it sounds like they're the actual cops rather than the FOP. They state they're with the and blah blah blah. It's real close to extorsion.
      • How on earth is it extorsion (sic)? Extortion is when a person obtains goods/services from another by wrongfully threatening or inflicting harm to his person, reputation, or property. At best it's harrasment.

        I'm not defending the FOP. Between them and PHV (Paralyized Hoosier Veterans), the two of them make up the majority of telemarking calls my house gets as well as my parents. But saying the are extorting money, or even coming close, it a little excessive.
        • Extortion is when a person obtains goods/services from another by wrongfully threatening or inflicting harm to his person, reputation, or property.

          Wikipedia with the assist!

          Incidentally, it also lists "coercion by threat" as a definition. The mere pretension of being a Figure of Authority might be enough to swing that, if the judge was on crack, maybe. It's kinda like the grey area where a police officer saying "sir, please let me take a look inside the vehicle" is technically an innoculous request a
          • It wasn't a Wikipedia, it was Google definition: [google.com]...which got it from Wikipedia. :)

            I've received numerous calls by FOP. I've never feeled "threatened" by them, no more then what I might be by a commission appliance salesman at Sears. Telemarketers (or in this case telefundraisers) are salesman. They get paid if they "sell" something...so obviously they are going to lean on you a little to make the "sale".
    • FOP?

      Guessing:

      "Fat Old Politicians"?

      "Freaky Omniscient Paladins"?

      "Flatulence On Parade"?

      "Fallacious Optometrist Propagandists"?

      • Re:FOP? (Score:3, Informative)

        by MacBrave (247640)
        lol, try "Fraternal Order of Police".

        And as a previous poster alluded to, having a FOP sticker on your car pretty much makes you immune to minor traffic violations. At least that's the myth in Indiana......

        • And it is indeed a myth, at least in Indianapolis metro. Unsure about rural areas, I dont live there...
        • And as a previous poster alluded to, having a FOP sticker on your car pretty much makes you immune to minor traffic violations. At least that's the myth in Indiana......

          I've heard that story in various places. It might even be true in some of them. No doubt the folks who do the fund-raising for FOPs are very careful to unconvincingly deny the rumor, if they're asked. Deny it because it's essentially bribery, but deny it unconvincingly because I'm sure it gets people with more money than ethics to suppo

    • It happens all the time. I've been a state employee in two different states, and in both states, my state email addresses mysteriously ended up on the mailing lists of the Governor, several members of his party, and the state secretary of education.

      -Eric

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:41AM (#14775631)
    My suggestion for a better headline: "American discovers balls"

    Now if only the rest of the country could get around to holding their political leaders accountable for their misdeeds.
  • by Tx (96709) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:42AM (#14775635) Journal
    Beyond the knee-jerk reaction, which would be "yay for the student, and peoples rights" in my case, I kind of think the city has a point, even if it isn't justified in law. I certainly don't want government institiutions making it easy for people to get such lists out of them, although it should be possible.
    • Oops, where's that preview button :). I meant

      I certainly don't want government institiutions making it easy for people to get such lists out of them, although it should be possible.
    • by packeteer (566398) <packeteerNO@SPAMsubdimension.com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:25AM (#14775807)
      I think nearly everyone who reads into this case will agree with you. Remember when a judge makes a ruling they do not say what is "right" and what is "wrong". In this case the judge simply said that the law did nto cover email address' and if anyone wanted it to they would need to get the legislature to pass a law about it.

      I side with the city here but the judge is not out of line making the ruling that was handed down. This is just more evidence of how behind the times our laws are and this is one possible way for spammers and scammers to exploit that.
    • City officials turned down Nees, saying the teen could come in and hand-copy the list. Officials said giving out copies of address lists would leave the newsletter subscribers open to spam and computer viruses.

      What it sounds like to me is he wanted an electronic version. They said "no, you can come in and hand copy the list yourself, but that's all you get". Which is completely reasonable. I work in local government and it's well known that almost anything we do is public record (very few exceptions). Ho
  • by Fëanáro (130986) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:48AM (#14775667)
    So he successfully sued the city to give him the email adresses of all people that are on some city mailing list?

    So any Spammer can now just request these lists to get free verified addresses?

    How is that in the public interest? What laws are the basis for this?

    • It's the 'You can't have it both ways' principle at work. Things like the Freedom of Information Act force a degree of transparency upon the government. Limiting this access to prevent abuse would have more adverse consequences than the abuse itself.

      In this case, the public interest seems obvious to me: did the city abuse a general-purpose/nonpolitical mailing list to send political/partisan mail? I, for one, would not welcome the local overlords spamming me when I'm not a member of their party.
      • From what I can tell from the article the offered to give him access to the list, but that we was not allowed to electronically copy it (only had write). One might argue that they did not give him an easy(or possibly reasonably feasible) way to compare the article, but I can see the point the city was making. If he had visible access to the list I think he should be able to take a representative sample and compare it without having to write down every single one.

        He expressed concern the mayor might be usi

      • So the next time the mayor can just get these addresse from some address dealer who in turn can get them for free from the city after this judgement.
        Maybe that's what he has done anyway: get some dealer to "hand-copy" the addresses for him, whit plausible deniability as part of the deal, it's what I would do to cover my ass.

        Spamming is bad, but what does it matter where the adresses came from?
    • by blueg3 (192743) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:14AM (#14775763)
      The laws that are the basis for this are evident in the article. It's an issue of public record. In the interests of the people, many government documents are public record. Mailing addresses are protected to prevent abuse, but e-mail addresses are not. More than likely, they should be, just like mailing addresses. However, it's not really the place of the courts to say, "Well, this *should* be protected, but it isn't, so we'll rule as if it is."

      So the case they're faced with is that someone asked for a copy of a public record and the city tried to make it difficult with the intent of preventing the person from obtaining the list. They didn't tell him he had to hand-copy it because they didn't have it in electronic form. They did it with the intent of making it unreasonably difficult to acquire a copy of the list, which directly opposes the spirit of the law regarding public record.

      The appropriate step is legislative. Extend to e-mail addresses the same protections as mailing addresses.
      • The laws that are the basis for this are evident in the article. It's an issue of public record. In the interests of the people, many government documents are public record. Mailing addresses are protected to prevent abuse, but e-mail addresses are not. More than likely, they should be, just like mailing addresses. However, it's not really the place of the courts to say, "Well, this *should* be protected, but it isn't, so we'll rule as if it is."

        I think I understand.

        You mean it's like the way the First Am

    • They're called public records, and one of the most vital principles of democracy is access to the records of your government. Would you like the government to be able to maintain secret lists of people they plan to exterminate? Besides, spam filters are so good now, who worries about spam any more? When spam was a problem I was receiving maybe 800-900 spams/day in my inbox, today that's down to one a week. But either way spam worries are not a good reason to give up important features of our democracy.
      • Would you like the government to be able to maintain secret lists of people they plan to exterminate?

        This is just stupid. Would anyone like anyone to maintain any lists of people they want to exterminate, secret or open?
      • Spam is still a problem. Even if it's all being filtered at your ISP so you don't have to download it, you're still paying for all the bandwidth used, the machines used to filter the spam, the staff time used to configure them (and make sure there are no false positives) - and so on. This is from the perspective of someone who spends more time tweaking Spamassassin at work than he really would like, BTW.

        If it's not being filtered at your ISP, then it's slowing down your connection just downloading the stuf

    • by Kohath (38547)
      What about the privacy of the people who submitted their email addresses?

      This is just typical of Slashdot. If Sony wanted the list for the same reason, then the privacy of the email recipients would matter. Since there's a teenager involved, it's OK for him to violate their privacy all he wants.

      It just proves that Slashdoters don't really care about privacy at all. It's just a tool to advance other agendas or bash your enemies.
      • What about the privacy of the people who submitted their email addresses?

        The purpose of this case was to determine if the Mayor had been misuing those addresses in the first place. Those people might have liked to know that their privacy had been violated by the people they had submitted it to. Two wrongs don't make a right, but if the first wrong turns out to be true, the second in this case sure goes a long way towards providing the information necesssary to fix the first.
    • How is that in the public interest? What laws are the basis for this?

      The problem is that many freedoms and rights can have both good and bad uses.

      The good use here is that now Nees has what he needs to prove that McKillip is, in fact, one of those spammers who has been mis-using the city's email newsletter list to feed hist own personal list for political spam. (That is, one spammer has already grabbed a copy.

      Unfortunatly, the law is not currently adequate to limit the information release to appropr

  • I wonder (Score:3, Funny)

    by cosmotron (900510) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:49AM (#14775672) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if this is enough of a joy for the Beach Boys to sing about it?
  • Why the City Sued (Score:2, Insightful)

    by linuxdoctor (126962)
    The plaintiff Nees, said, "I don't see why they spent all of that time and money when they knew it would be in vain. They knew the law wasn't on their side, yet they continued to fight."

    Ask Microsoft. They are constantly suing and being sued regardless of their guilt or innocence or even the law. They have all the money and the people suing them usually don't. They can hold out for years until their opponent's money runs out. If they lose in court, they simply appeal and in the end, when and if an appeal go
  • Typical of this town (Score:3, Informative)

    by kanwisch (202654) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:01AM (#14775716)
    To anyone who lives in or near Kokomo, this type of continuance in the face of facts is not surprising. I suspect the mayor had hoped the kid would give up.

    His loss is a community loss in tax dollars, which, when considering that Delphi Automotive, one of the city's two largest corporations is in bankruptcy is quite irresponsible.
  • Kokomo Resident (Score:5, Informative)

    by reidhoch (89219) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:03AM (#14775727)
    First off, please don't /. my local newspaper. Secondly this is only one of Matt McKillip's blunders. He has commented how he thinks divorce should be illegal in the city of Kokomo, had a "prayer chapel" installed in a Redi-Med type medical center to prevent a bar from being turned into a strip club, given top jobs to campaign contibutors, changed traditionally public meetings to invite only, etc ...

    Really, he is the worst mayor we have had here for quite a while. Delphi and Chrysler, Kokomo's top employers have both recently laid off people. Kokomo is on a downfall and MAtt McKillip isn't helping it.
    • Re:Kokomo Resident (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PhreakOfTime (588141)

      Those revelations will only come as a suprise to those who do not live in or near kokomo. Having lived in the state of Indiana for a few years longer than I would have liked, I cant see anything here that the local populace wouldnt VOLUNTARILY elect into a public office. The 'small town' life has many, MANY, many dark secrets to it. As far as I can see, this mayor is simply a mirror of the populace he represents.

      Piece of advice, MOVE! Until you remove yourself from that atmosphere for an extended amount of

      • Re:Kokomo Resident (Score:3, Insightful)

        by reidhoch (89219)
        I left Kokomo for 4 years, only moving back to be near family. Most of Kokomo's residents are happy with things because they know nothing else. They just want to graduate high school and get a job at a factory, they really have no aspirations or dreams. Church on Sunday, Work on Monday thru Friday, rinse, repeat.
      • The 'small town' life has many, MANY, many dark secrets to it

        That's a good point, i spent all of high school in a town with less then 1000 people. There's this mentality that small towns are all "church and apple pie" but that is far from the truth. Now I live in downtown Dallas and will never ever go back to my hometown.
    • Sounds like he's right in line with our national leadership. Sadly, I'm not attempting sarcasm here. :(
    • First off, please don't /. my local newspaper.

      Oh but why not! Why shouldn't the Kokomo Tribune's servers tremble with the power of thousands of outraged geeks?

      Secondly this is only one of Matt McKillip's blunders. He has commented how he thinks divorce should be illegal in the city of Kokomo, had a "prayer chapel" installed in a Redi-Med type medical center to prevent a bar from being turned into a strip club, given top jobs to campaign contibutors, changed traditionally public meetings to invite only,

    • So... You've submitted all of the details that are factual to Wikipedia, right?

      I'd really hate to see this guy go any further if he's in the business of pushing morals on others, then turning around and misusing information about his constituents.
    • Re:Kokomo Resident (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wow! So let me get this straight. Trying to protect the citizens is something to attack the mayor on, right?

      First of all, the prayer chapel had been there when the medical facilities was opened. It is part of a Catholic owned hospital chain. Two, there are two other churches within reach.

      He is trying to promote family instead of a "get married, if it doesn't work out, who cares?" attitude, since the divorce rate in Kokomo is approx. 50%.

      The public meetings? He did so in accordance to law. Those meetin
      • Re:Kokomo Resident (Score:4, Insightful)

        by virg_mattes (230616) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:54PM (#14777421)
        Wow, you're not much of a spin doctor. I know nothing of the city nor of the state of affairs there, and your argument still reads like it's BS put out by someone who's trying to protect McKillip. Let's take just the first few points:

        > Wow! So let me get this straight. Trying to protect the citizens is something to attack the mayor on, right?

        You'll have a hard time convincing anyone here that offering a list for hand-copying but not in a more suitable format is "trying to protect the citizens" and not "trying to make the investigation so painful that it'll go away." Moreover, once it became clear that the law wasn't going to support him directly, capituating would be more in the interests of his constiuency than fighting to the bitter and very expensive end.

        > He is trying to promote family instead of a "get married, if it doesn't work out, who cares?" attitude, since the divorce rate in Kokomo is approx. 50%.

        Firstly, the divorce rate nationwide is around 50 percent, and secondly, there's a huge span between wanting to promote family and commenting that divorce should be criminalized. That he would even think that, much less say it, indicates that he's far too concerned with pushing his brand of morality on others to be entrusted with public office.

        > The public meetings? He did so in accordance to law. Those meetings were suppose to be closed.

        Is the definition of "public" in public meetings somehow confusing to you? What reasonable argument can you present that meetings of public officials discussing public business shouldn't be open to the public? What could a mayor possibly talk about in meetings that the general public shouldn't have access to? Last I checked, mayors don't discuss military or classified subjects in the course of their duties. It sounds more like he wants to talk about stuff that he'd rather his constituents don't hear about, and because of the above-stated reasons I suspect that means stuff that would get him in trouble if he wasn't allowed to control access. That's unacceptable in a public office.

        > Maybe those "top campaign" contributers are the most qualified? Oh, and EVERY policitian does that.

        First, you argue that these top contributors got the jobs for being most qualified, then you excuse the behavior by saying "every politician does that". Which is it? Did they get the jobs by being qualified, or should we excuse the cronyism because it's widespread? Didn't your mother teach you that "everyone does it" doesn't make it right?

        To put it bluntly, these comments of yours do little to reassure me that you're anything more than a shill. After the list I just reviewed, reading that you think he's an honest man carries no weight because I see nothing in your testimony that leads me to think you're an unbiased or honest commentator. Here's a hint: when you say that even after you no longer work with him, that you can call or email him and he'll respond personally, that says to others that you're a part of his inner circle. Maybe you should check to see whether the average citizen can do that before you try to use it to demonstrate that he's not better to those he knows than everyone else. People who are only honest and open with their friends aren't generally considered honest and open.

        Virg
  • A few things FTA (Score:4, Informative)

    by corellon13 (922091) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:09AM (#14775746)
    "City officials turned down Nees, saying the teen could come in and hand-copy the list. Officials said giving out copies of address lists would leave the newsletter subscribers open to spam and computer viruses."

    I know it would've been a major pain to hand copy, but if this was a real effort by the teen to research and uncover abuse, why not just copy them down? I mean this has taken over a year now. He could have hand copied them and been done with it long before now.

    "Murray said the law, which restricts access to mailing addresses, doesn't extend to e-mail addresses..."

    This tells me that the City wasn't asking the teen to hand copy the addresses just to be jerks about it. They were applying an existing law for mailing addresses to email addresses. Seems reasonable to me.

    "Groth took the case on a pro-bono basis, but Murray asked for an accounting of Groth's fees in her ruling. Groth said Tuesday it's likely he could bill several thousand dollars for the case."

    Before we attack the bloodsucking lawyer, the compensation for the pro-bono part of this was the judges idea. This goes to show that we probably need some way of reeling in some of these justices. I mean, it's one thing if she wants to pay this lawyer out of her pocket, but she just imposed a huge bill on the tax payers of that city to pay someone who was fine doing this for free (free meaning the publicity).
    • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:42AM (#14775887) Homepage Journal
      Reeling in judges? No thanks. That's why we call them JUDGES - we elect them to use their judgement. If we want to just have a firm set of rules, then why have judges at all?

      Look at all the damage that's being done by changing sentencing guidelines to sentencing mandates - take the judgement from judges, and you end up with atrocities happening... people getting more time in prison for a joint than for rape, etc. If you don't like your judges' record, vote against them - but don't hamstring them from being able to give a person a break if they deserve it, or treat them MORE harshly than they deserve, just because the occasional thing you see reported makes you think your city can save a few bucks.

  • by Mille Mots (865955) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:10AM (#14775750)
    ...heard the voices in their head singing:

    Aruba, Jamaica
    Ooh I wanna take ya
    To Bermuda, Bahama
    Come on pretty mama
    Key Largo, Montego
    Baby why don't we go

    Ooh I wanna take you down to Kokomo
    We'll get there fast
    And then we'll take it slow
    That's where we wanna go
    Way down to Kokomo

    I think I need more coffee this morning. And maybe a lobotomy so I can forget the late 80s/early 90s once and for all. The booze doesn't seem to be working.

  • by BillGodfrey (127667) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:11AM (#14775753) Homepage
    I guess he had no particular place to go.

    (Two cymbals and a snare drum fall down a canyon.)

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:12AM (#14775756) Journal
    Frankly, I'm surprised the city tried to contest this at all.

    Aside from the Freedom of Information Act [wikipedia.org], I could think of a ton of good reasons why this kid should get this or why anyone should be able to get a list like this. Whatever happened to the good old days where we were encouraged to snail mail every single person representing us in office?

    When I was younger, I was pretty dissatisfied with the insane food prices at my high school. Even worse was the fact that my parents were making me pay for my own food. So I threatened the school with the Freedom of Information Act and demanded to see all food related reciepts and documents including pay and taxes. They gave me two huge boxes full of crap and I spent one night sorting through everything. And, surprisingly enough, after I sorted through and found out how much they were paying Arrowmark or whoever the food service provider was--it just didn't make sense. The local grocery store had better prices.
    • When I was younger, I was pretty dissatisfied with the insane food prices at my high school. Even worse was the fact that my parents were making me pay for my own food. So I threatened the school with the Freedom of Information Act and demanded to see all food related reciepts and documents including pay and taxes. They gave me two huge boxes full of crap and I spent one night sorting through everything. And, surprisingly enough, after I sorted through and found out how much they were paying Arrowmark or wh
  • by hot soldering iron (800102) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:22AM (#14775793)
    After reading TFA, is seems to me the whole thing was about who gets to be lazy. The city officials said that he could have the list, but he had to hand copy it himself. He sued to get them to just give him a copy of the list, and compensate his lawyer.

    I can sort of see his point. He was comparing two lists: a city newsletter, and one the mayor was using to build up political support. If he hand copied it, they could alway say he made a mistake or changed it, there would be no tracability. But an actual, official copy couldn't be denied. Now I understand why the mayor didn't want to give it out. It was a case of CYA.
    • That's not my view at all.

      As I understand it, FOIA requests of this sort usually mean that you'd receive an electronic list in electronic form; or printed out, if needed. But there is an explicite exception for lists of mail addresses; they are also freely available, but need to be copied by hand. That way, advertizers are discouraged from getting a bunch of these lists to send ads to. The city wanted to protect email adresses in the same way, to prevent spam. That sounds very reasonable to me. But the kid

      • As you understand it (Score:2, Informative)

        by flyinwhitey (928430)
        You're wrong.

        "As I understand it, FOIA requests..."

        apply to FEDERAL government, not state and local.

        There are laws that apply locally as well, but they obviously vary from state to state.

        From wiki

        "United States

        Main article: Freedom of information in the United States

        In the United States the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 4, 1966 and went into effect the following year. The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments wer
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Disclaimer: This is comming from a K-Town Native.

    The only fitting punishment, as any Hoosier would know (that I am) is to put him in the fields and make him do some http://news.uns.purdue.edu/UNS/html4ever/990723.Ni elsen.detassel.html [purdue.edu]Corn Detasseling. It's hand-ripping slave labor. Ask anyone from around there, they'll tell that such a punishment makes Guantanamo Bay look like Club Med.

    Oh wait, he still lives in Kokomo. That's punishment enough.

    sean s.
    • Detasseling is only hard work if you have to walk. I walked a couple years while detassling, but then one year I worked for a farmer near Peru, IN that had a detassling machine, basically a jacked up tractor with long 'arms' on each side containing buckets where the detasslers could stand. That was country club compared to walking.

      But you are right about detassling tearing up your hands. Every year we have some noobies show up on the first day without any gloves. Their hands were usually a bloody mess by
  • by austinpoet (789122) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:33AM (#14775838) Homepage
    What I don't understand is how the government can make a distinction between hand-copying and other forms of copying.

    What if I have a hand-held scanner (as was posted the other day on /. and have existed for years)? Is that hand-copying? What if I use a whole candy-machine full of silly puddy? Can I use carbon paper too?

    I mean I realize that the government can legislatively make a distinction between a 3lb carrot and a 5lb carrot, but do they think they are being clever with this? Is this security through frustration/writers-cramp? Is there some time limit placed on the copier?

    Does the government employ 1000s of workers to hand-compile the list initially?
  • "'The city's arguments here are of a policy rather than a legal character, and are more appropriately addressed to the Indiana Legislature rather than to this court," Murray wrote. "The courts cannot fill gaps in a statutory scheme designed by the legislature.'"

    This judge chose not to "legislate from the bench," but instead deferred to the people, via the legislature, to determine public policy. So, for this coup we have to thank a non-activist judge.
  • But then I read:
    Murray said the law, which restricts access to mailing addresses, doesn't extend to e-mail addresses, as the city's attorneys contended. She said the city must turn over either a copy or an electronic copy of the list.

    While I'm all for the government not being able to hide this kind of stuff (and it sounds like they weren't really, they gave the kid a chance to make his own copy, so they were making it difficult), I'm not sure I like the idea of someone being able to send a note to city h
  • What's the difference between what this kid did and what the US government is currently trying to do with search engine results? Besides the fact that the kid requested email addresses, not just results that can't be tied to any particular person.

    I don't think the government should be able to get those results, but what's with the /. crowd justifying this kid? Because he's one of the "little people," it's ok for the city to hand him a stack of email addresses rather than just shredding them? If that's the c
  • by bjq (250686) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @10:29AM (#14776198) Homepage

    This isn't the first round between McKillip and Nees. Nees had previously created a documentary film about McKillip entitled Words of Sedition: how the highest levels of power shut down free speech in Kokomo.

    You can find more info on this case from when it was filed in this Indianapolis Star article [indystar.com].

    You can also read more about it on Nees' personal website [ryannees.com].

    You can watch Words of Sedition [wordsofsedition.com] online as well.

  • by Slightly Askew (638918) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:08AM (#14776478) Journal

    I am sure we have not heard the last of this. It would not surprise me that the mayor would use the city mailing list for personal political gain, and once Ryan has the list in hand, I'm sure he will not be hesitant about making public his findings.

    Check out his website [ryannees.com] for more details about this case, as well as his movie about this administration's other questionable practices. Quite impressive collection, especially for a 16 year old. Reminds me of a young Alex Jones [prisonplanet.com].

    • I am sure we have not heard the last of this. It would not surprise me that the mayor would use the city mailing list for personal political gain, and once Ryan has the list in hand, I'm sure he will not be hesitant about making public his findings.

      And this is just the tip of the iceberg: US Congressmen are currently purchasing email lists, cross-referencing them with geographic databases, and then sending spam^h^h^h^h informative newsletters to their constituents. The newsletters contain the appropria

  • by AragornSonOfArathorn (454526) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:18AM (#14776557)
    I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!!

    Now, git off my lawn!
  • I sent a complaint into Barbara Boxers email address and was added to her political email list. No one even read the email because it thanked me for my support. I was complaining of her support of the issue. However since she is a democrat I doubt anyone would call her on this. Democrats are usually given a pass in matters like this.
  • The real deal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gregm (61553) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:36PM (#14777254)
    The kid signed up for the city's newsletter and was almost immediately sent spam from the mayor's campaign people. Translated, the mayor (whose name I'll not put up in lights) has free access to the city's mailing list and uses it for personal gain. I think he decided to see if get a copy of the list himself and was denied.

    Why should the mayor be allowed to use this list for personal gain but the kid can't? That's why he sued for the info and I expect it's his hope that legislation will get passed to protect that list just like the snailmail addresses are protected by a law that needs to be updated to include email addresses. The kid has a definite past with the mayor. The taxpayers in Kokomo basically paid to make it legal for the mayor to use the city's newsletter list to send everyone on the list spam.

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