Indiana: bill makes it harder to file false common law liens on judges, find out judges’ home addresses

The problem with disgruntled litigants filing false liens on judges and court staff is nothing new, however in recent years several states have moved to make it harder to file such documents or to criminalize the act. Earlier this week the Indiana Senate approved an effort to make such actions harder.

HB 1371, as approved by the House on a 95-0 vote in February, generally prohibits a person from slandering the title to land by use of the law concerning common law liens. Specifically it prohibits filing of false common law liens on both current and former officeholders who held office within the past 4 years and public employees (which includes judicial employees). Such a common law lien is automatically void after 30 days if the lienholder has not commenced suit on the lien.

The same bill also makes it harder for people to try and find out the home addresses for judges. Under HB 1371 certain judicial officers and others can restrict access to their home addresses found in public property data base web sites. The individual judge must submit a written request to the appropriate county, municipality, or township which must establish a process to prevent a member of the general public from gaining access to these home addresses.

The Senate adopted what appears to have been minor grammatical changes before approving HB 1371 on a 47-0 vote on April 7. The bill goes back to the House to approve the Senate amendment.