Author Topic: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable  (Read 3571 times)

INRD Fan

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
The Court of Appeals of Indiana has paved the way to once again permit Indiana law enforcement officers to enforce I.C. 8-6-7.5-1 which states that a railroad corporation must not permit any train to obstruct public travel at a railroad-highway grade crossing for a period in excess of ten (10) minutes, except where such train, railroad car or engine cannot be moved by reason of circumstances over which the railroad corporation has no control. The case is State of Indiana v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company, 02A03-1607-IF-1524.  There are several loopholes which might change this in the future, but for now, the ticketing can re-commence.  See the ICOA decision attached.

Bob Durnell

  • President
  • *****
  • Posts: 1769
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 05:05:48 PM »
I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but does it REALLY matter what a STATE court thinks about a situation of FEDERAL jurisdiction?  MY guess is that at some point this would end up in front of a Federal court, and they will do whatever they want with it, regardless of what the State of Indiana thinks. 

Rick

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2800
  • Conrail #1
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2017, 06:49:47 PM »
Itís always been enforceable but police have better things to do than worry about what crossing is block.  If it becomes an issue for days on end then they might respond to public pressure but even then they can only take down the engine number and write it up.  They canít climb on the engine, collect your ID, etc..  They might get paid eventually but I believe the money goes somewhere other than the town or city it was written in.  So, in essence the city is wasting tax payer dollars that they will not see in return if the tickets are ever paid. 

Up here in south bend, the idiot mayor wants a federal investigation into trains sounding horns 19 times over a couple days time in a newly reinstalled quiet zone.  I donít think thatís gonna happen. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

NSHuntingtonDistrict

  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 968
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2017, 09:10:52 PM »
Can't wait for a Barney Fife to wave his ticket book at my train and threaten to haul me away.
Extra board livin'

pr1952

  • Brakeman
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2017, 10:11:23 PM »
With this question I will make it very obvious that I do not work for a railroad-but why can't a cop climb up to the cab and issue a ticket to railroad personnel?
PR

INRD Fan

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2017, 10:41:20 PM »
Can't wait for a Barney Fife to wave his ticket book at my train and threaten to haul me away.

Professional law enforcement officers don't threaten anyone, they just enforce the law.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

INRD Fan

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 10:45:27 PM »
With this question I will make it very obvious that I do not work for a railroad-but why can't a cop climb up to the cab and issue a ticket to railroad personnel?
PR

These tickets are not issued to the Engineer nor Conductor, they are issued to the Railroad entity itself.  Since trains are not considered automobiles, no drivers license is required nor are the railroad employees required to present a drivers license if they don't voluntarily do so.  The tickets can be mailed to the entity; it is not required that the officer board the train and hand them a copy.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Rick

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2800
  • Conrail #1
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2017, 10:47:41 PM »
With this question I will make it very obvious that I do not work for a railroad-but why can't a cop climb up to the cab and issue a ticket to railroad personnel?
PR
One, the crew canít be issued a ticket.  Therefore, he/she has no right to be on railroad property. 

For the record, Iím not saying railroad crews are untouchable or above the law, etc..  most will talk to the police and let them know whatís going on and how long theyíll be if they have an idea.  However, if the officer comes across as a dbag, not talking to you because I canít hear you. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

INRD Fan

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2017, 10:49:20 PM »
I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but does it REALLY matter what a STATE court thinks about a situation of FEDERAL jurisdiction?  MY guess is that at some point this would end up in front of a Federal court, and they will do whatever they want with it, regardless of what the State of Indiana thinks.

That is precisely what the Court ruled: that the federal acts cited do not preempt the state law in the Indiana Code. As mentioned, it will be interesting to see if it's appealed to the Supreme Court to see if they affirm or reverse - if they'd even hear the case.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

INRD Fan

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2017, 11:09:38 PM »
Itís always been enforceable but police have better things to do than worry about what crossing is block.  If it becomes an issue for days on end then they might respond to public pressure but even then they can only take down the engine number and write it up.  They canít climb on the engine, collect your ID, etc..  They might get paid eventually but I believe the money goes somewhere other than the town or city it was written in.  So, in essence the city is wasting tax payer dollars that they will not see in return if the tickets are ever paid. 

Up here in south bend, the idiot mayor wants a federal investigation into trains sounding horns 19 times over a couple days time in a newly reinstalled quiet zone.  I donít think thatís gonna happen. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Railroad counsel has successfully litigated in several jurisdictions over the past few years that state laws have no jurisdiction to enforce grade crossing statutes.  They tried that in this case and the Court of Appeals of Indiana said they disagree, so until the case is appealed and the Supreme Court agrees to hear it, it shall be law. 

Regarding Police have better things to do: as a 19 year veteran law enforcement officer, I take it seriously when my men can't get to a shooting, a fire, an EMS assist run, etc, due to their access being blocked.  That being said, in 19 years, Ive never wrote a ticket to a railroad as Ive found just asking them what's going on works better, and Ive yet to meet a crew who was blocking a crossing just for fun.  I have, however, given many conductors rides with wrenches and air hoses back and forth to expedite getting them on their way. 

Regarding where the money would go for those infraction tickets, it'd go the same place they all go: divided up between about 20 different funds including the court, the highway department, $3 to the law enforcement training fund, and about 17 other programs or agencies.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Rick

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2800
  • Conrail #1
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 11:43:44 PM »
Railroad counsel has successfully litigated in several jurisdictions over the past few years that state laws have no jurisdiction to enforce grade crossing statutes.  They tried that in this case and the Court of Appeals of Indiana said they disagree, so until the case is appealed and the Supreme Court agrees to hear it, it shall be law. 

Regarding Police have better things to do: as a 19 year veteran law enforcement officer, I take it seriously when my men can't get to a shooting, a fire, an EMS assist run, etc, due to their access being blocked.  That being said, in 19 years, Ive never wrote a ticket to a railroad as Ive found just asking them what's going on works better, and Ive yet to meet a crew who was blocking a crossing just for fun.  I have, however, given many conductors rides with wrenches and air hoses back and forth to expedite getting them on their way. 

Regarding where the money would go for those infraction tickets, it'd go the same place they all go: divided up between about 20 different funds including the court, the highway department, $3 to the law enforcement training fund, and about 17 other programs or agencies.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Oh, I know the RRís think federal laws trump state and local and since there is no federal law pertaining to blocked crossing times they donít feel itís enforceable.  That still doesnít keep police from issuing tickets because state laws say they are suppose to if they feel its necessary.  Many cities up here have done this over the years recently when traffic really spiked after the recession. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

INRD Fan

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2017, 06:28:39 AM »
Oh, I know the RRís think federal laws trump state and local and since there is no federal law pertaining to blocked crossing times they donít feel itís enforceable.  That still doesnít keep police from issuing tickets because state laws say they are suppose to if they feel its necessary.  Many cities up here have done this over the years recently when traffic really spiked after the recession. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Very true.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Cmdr_Suds

  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 764
  • Notch eight and sanding!
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2017, 07:10:12 PM »
...Regarding where the money would go for those infraction tickets, it'd go the same place they all go: divided up between about 20 different funds including the court, the highway department, $3 to the law enforcement training fund, and about 17 other programs or agencies.
A speeding ticket receipt from several years back
CSX CE&D Sub
"No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced."

INRD Fan

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2017, 08:47:22 PM »
A speeding ticket receipt from several years back

Good example.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Rick

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2800
  • Conrail #1
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2017, 11:00:39 PM »
Is the same type of bs categories with a speeding ticket attached to a blocked road crossing? 

For example, a seat belt violation which is $25 or 30 up here isnít broken down into the same categories or is it? 

DNA sample wth?  Public defense fee?  Even if you donít use one.  Why am I not surprised. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ventrue

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 63
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2017, 09:16:22 PM »
I donít have a JD, just taking a guess here, but it seems the next Court to hear the appeal would be the Indiana Supreme Court and then move to the federal system starting with the applicable Federal District Court, just to be clear.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ScottFlood

  • Chief Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 516
Re: Ind Supreme Court: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS NOT enforceable
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2018, 07:41:44 PM »
Today, the Indiana Supreme Court struck down the Appeals Court ruling that allows local police to ticket trains that block crossings.

The unanimous decision said that a 1995 federal rule trumped Indiana's 1865 rule. Local jurisdictions can no longer ticket trains, and the chair of the House Transportation Committee said he doesn't see a way to write a state law that could overcome the federal statute.

Here's the story:
https://indianaeconomicdigest.com/main.asp?SectionID=31&SubsectionID=124&ArticleID=93582

Bob Durnell

  • President
  • *****
  • Posts: 1769
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2018, 08:34:22 PM »




"Democratic Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr."     People are frustrated," McDermott said. "It shows that the court, in my opinion, is very out of touch with the problems that real Hoosiers face."

No, Mayor McDermott, it shows that the Court is in touch with the LAW, not pulling rulings out of their butt to appease local angry voters.  Contrary to what a large portion of this country believes, including the mayor of Hammond, it's the job of the courts to INTERPRET the law as written, not make new law.  If you're angry about stopped trains, get your FEDERAL representatives to change the language of the current statute.

Rick

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2800
  • Conrail #1
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2018, 09:41:12 PM »
As hard as it is to believe, people working for the railroad donít go to work thinking how many people can we piss off today by blocking as many crossings as possible. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

CSX_CO

  • Tycoon
  • ******
  • Posts: 8046
  • Ok...lets get our stories straight......
Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2018, 11:51:41 PM »
As hard as it is to believe, people working for the railroad donít go to work thinking how many people can we piss off today...

Itís amazing how remarkably good at pissing people off that Iíve become though.  Public and otherwise.

ďWe now return you to your regularly scheduled crossing blocking, already in progressĒ