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Indiana do-not-call law upheld by federal judge

By The Associated Press
09.16.05

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge ruled that the state's do-not-call list law does not violate the First Amendment, rejecting a lawsuit filed by some nonprofit groups.

District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued the verdict in favor of the state without a trial. The opinion in NCP Inc. v. Carter, dated Sept. 2, was made public late Sept. 14 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter said yesterday the decision would help the state as it fights a challenge against the law filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

"This is a good day for privacy interests of Hoosiers who have been enjoying peace and quiet in their homes," he said. "I think a lot of telemarketers are getting the message that citizens consider [telemarketing] a form of harassment."

Four nonprofit groups — the National Coalition of Prayer, the Kentucky-Indiana Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Indiana Troopers Association and the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police — sued the state in April 2002, saying the anti-telemarketing law violated their right to free speech and thwarted their ability to raise money.

A state appeals court upheld the law in July 2002, and the troopers' group dropped out of the lawsuit last year.

Messages seeking comment were left with the charities.

Indiana's do-not-call law is one of the toughest in the nation, and allows charities to make solicitation calls only if they use employees or volunteers to make the calls. The charities that sued used professional telemarketers to solicit donations.

Carter said he was unsure whether the groups would appeal the decision, but said the state was prepared to continue to defend the law.

The Consumer Bankers Association filed a petition with the FCC to pre-empt Indiana's law. A public-comment period of the challenge ended in August.

FCC spokeswoman Rosemary Kimball said it would be several months until the agency issued a decision.

About 1.7 million Indiana residents, representing nearly two-thirds of the state's residential phone lines, have signed up to block their phone numbers from telephone solicitations since the law took effect in January 2002.


Update
7th Circuit backs Ind. do-not-call law
Court finds state's interest in protecting residents' right not to endure unwanted speech in their homes outweighs charities' First Amendment concerns. 07.31.06

Previous
Judge: Indiana's no-call list doesn't violate free speech
The 'First Amendment does not stand as an impediment to private decisions to give audience to certain types of speech while avoiding others,' state court says. 07.08.02

Related

8th Circuit upholds N.D. do-not-call law

Panel reverses lower-court decision, rules 2-1 that telemarketing statute 'does not substantially limit charitable solicitations, and is not unconstitutionally overbroad.' 12.08.05

Supreme Court spurns challenge of N.D. 'do not call' law

Telemarketing measure bars most groups from using professional fundraisers to call people who don't want to be called. 05.16.06

Telemarketing

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