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Ask Our Lawyer - March 2007

A.B.A.T.E. HAS SAVED DANA, INDIANA!

I attended A.B.A.T.E. of Indiana?s Motorcycle Safety Division Annual Awards Banquet. At that banquet, we tried to thank those instructors for all they do for the motorcycle safety program. Prior to their existence, the state of Indiana [and many other states] had no affective motorcycle safety training program. In essence, our beginning riders were given a pink slip and told to practice on the highways and by-ways of this country. If they survived thirty (30) days, someone would examine their riding skills learned the hard way. The effective plan was then if they die, they die. A.B.A.T.E. and its cadre of dedicated safety instructors changed all that.

Over the years, I have wondered how many lives have been saved by A.B.A.T.E. safety instructors. With that in mind, I asked John Bodeker, Motorcycle Safety Program Coordinator, if he could statistically calculate the number of lives saved in Indiana since that program was started. His answer, yes ? over 600 lives since the program was started in 1986. And even if it were only one, the effort would be worth it.

I have an idea. We should find a town that has a population of over 600, like Dana, Indiana, the home of Ernie Pyle. We should photograph the sign of the town showing the population of 600, and the fire department, the police department, the Mayor, the school, the churches, etc. We should photograph the instructors, and put it all on a billboard with the following inscription. TO DATE, A.B.A.T.E. HAS SAVED THE NUMBER OF LIVES THAT LIVE IN THIS TOWN - DANA, INDIANA.

PS - At the A.B.A.T.E. banquet, Michael Farabaugh was given well-deserved plaudits for developing the Motorcycle Safety Division program, as well as many other footprints of A.B.A.T.E. As usual, Michael was way ahead of the times.

JURY DUTY SCAM

One of our readers reported an identity theft scheme making the rounds: the jury duty scam. Here's how it works:

The scammer calls claiming to work for the local court and claims you've failed to report for jury duty. He tells you that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. The victim will often rightly claim they never received the jury duty notification. The scammer then asks the victim for confidential information for "verification" purposes. Specifically, the scammer asks for the victim's Social Security number, birth date, and sometimes even for credit card numbers and other private information ? exactly what the scammer needs to commit identity theft.

This scam has been reported in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington state. In reality, court workers will never call you to ask for social security numbers and other private information. In fact, most courts follow up via snail mail and rarely, if ever, call prospective jurors.

Action: Never give out your Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal confidential information when you receive a telephone call. Protecting yourself is simple: Never give this info out when you receive a phone call.

HELMET LAW FOLLOW-UP

We recently reported on an effort in Montana to enact a mandatory helmet law. One of Indiana?s own, Kenneth R. Casey, Region XI Director for A.B.A.T.E. of Indiana, recently penned a respectable letter to the legislation?s sponsor detailing better ways to improve safety in Montana, including better support for the Montana Motorcycle Rider Safety Program.

Ken also makes a great point regarding those of us who may travel through Montana in conjunction with a trip to Sturgis. Ken said, ?if your legislation passes, know that I speak for 27,000 plus A.B.A.T.E. of Indiana members who come to your part of the country annually. Our bikes and our bucks will stay the hell out of Montana. Freedom is our business...and business is good!

Well put, Ken!

CROSSING STATE LINES

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to review the question of whether a trial court properly suppressed a defendants arrest that took place by Illinois law enforcement offices but occurred in Indiana on grounds that Illinois police violated Indiana's ?fresh pursuit? statute. That statute required that Illinois police bring a defendant to Indiana judge for hearing regarding the lawfulness of the arrest. The Appellate Court, in affirming the suppression of the arrest, found that the Illinois police officer's failure to comply with Indiana's ?fresh pursuit? statute rendered defendant's arrest unlawful. We'll keep following these cases for you.

P?O?ED AT PARKING PROBLEMS

Q: I am an employee of a local university with a problem with the administration and my motorcycle. They offer permits for cars and separate permits for motorcycles. Motorcycles are allowed to park only in designated motorcycle parking areas or in public, curbside parking, but not in spaces designated for cars. Problems have arisen because vehicles other than motorcycles park in the motorcycle spaces. My motorcycle has been ticketed for parking in non-motorcycle spaces, while cars in the motorcycle spots have not been observed to be ticketed. What can I do?

A: It is clear that the parking regulations discriminate against motorcyclists by not permitting motorcyclists to purchase a green permit, and that the security personnel do not prosecute vehicles parking illegally in motorcycle spaces while ticketing motorcyclists who are illegally parked. However, the question of proper remedy is more complex. Discrimination, broadly speaking, is legal, unless you are a member a protected class and a victim of the alleged discrimination (i.e., race, sex, age, religion, country of origin, sometimes sexual orientation, etc.). Generally, motorcyclists are not considered a protected class, so a showing by the university that there was a legitimate purpose to the discriminatory action would most likely be sufficient to defeat any action on that issue.

As to the issue of selective enforcement of the parking regulations, there is generally very little remedy available to prevent selective enforcement of existing regulations. Although it is clear from the materials that illegal motorcycle parking is being enforced while illegal parking by cars in motorcycle spaces is not, there is no legal mechanism for compelling more active enforcement by the university, unless a valid claim could be made that the university is failing to follow the dictates of the Board of Trustees. Since allocating parking spaces and enforcing parking restrictions are discretionary functions on the part of the administration, they are responsible for making any changes in those policies. If direct contact with the administration, as you have already attempted, do not result in any change, you may consider other options. Other avenues for influencing the administration?s conduct are available, such as contacting the campus newspaper or the school?s Board of Trustees. Either of these organizations may be able to exert sufficient pressure on the administration to affect their practices.

SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

In 2003, Congress made significant improvements to legislation protecting the rights of members of the armed forces while on active duty. Known as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, it provides new rights and reinforces some pre existing statutory protections.

For example, the Act provides a way to get a stay of judicial and administrative hearings involving servicemembers, as well as the ability to reopen some default judgments. The Act also limits enforcement on leases, installment contracts, mortgages and liens and provides important protections for servicemember's rights in relation to insurance, interest, and some other obligations. However, most of these protections are not automatic, but must be actively asserted by the servicemember in the method set forth by the Act. A failure to invoke the protections of the Act may waive those protections.

The Act applies in all federal and state jurisdictions, including federal and state administrative agencies. The Act does not, however, apply to criminal cases.

Ride Safe and Free,

Rod Taylor

A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services

If you have any questions you would like to ask the lawyer, please submit them to: Ask Our Lawyer, P.O. Box 2850, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206_2850, or email rodtaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2005, A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services

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