Judge refuses to stop license revocations
ACLU claims Indiana BMV violates law matching drivers licenses, IDs with Social Security numbers.
Por JOSEPH DITS Tribune Staff Writer
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles reports that it has revoked the drivers licenses and ID cards of about 32,455 people this year because their personal information didnt match Social Security records.
On Wednesday a Marion Superior Court judge denied an injunction that would have temporarily stopped the BMV from revoking the credentials, a new process that began last year.
The injunction was sought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. It was paired with a class-action lawsuit in which a key plaintiff was South Bend attorney Lyn Leone.
Mary Lyn Leone is the name on her birth certificate and Social Security records, but it didnt match Lyn Leone, the name she started using on records as an adult, including her drivers license.
The ACLUs lawsuit claimed that its against state law and the U.S. Constitution to take away licenses because of mismatches between BMV and Social Security records.
A hearing was held April 11 before Judge Kenneth Johnson in Indianapolis. In his 44-page ruling, Johnson wrote that the suit failed to show any harm or hardship to Leone by the BMVs new screening process, which began last year.
Nor, Johnson wrote, did it show that the BMVs new process prevented anyone like Leone from using whatever names they wanted for other official purposes.
Johnson also wrote that its important to guard against identity theft and fraud, which is part of the case the BMV made in court.
Indiana became the 47th state to check its records against those of Social Security. It ended up affecting a mix of lifelong citizens and illegal immigrants.
Not that long ago, Indiana was a magnet for those who wanted to obtain a fraudulent drivers license, BMV Commissioner Ron Stiver stated in a press release. For instance, the BMV simply required a signed letter to make a name change. This, and other like practices, left
Hoosiers far too vulnerable to identity theft, financial crimes and other fraud. We set out to change that.
The ACLUs legal director, Ken Falk, said hes filed to appeal the injunctions denial. If the injunction is granted, he said, the lawsuit would have a better chance of changing the BMV policy when the suit goes to trial.
The BMV says it has offered appeal hearings to those who received notice that their licenses or IDs would be revoked. So far, the BMV reports that 96 hearings have been held.
The BMV says it will reinstate a license at no charge if the customer can successfully show their personal information matches that of Social Security records. To date, the BMV says 835 credentials have been reinstated.