State defends Indiana punitive damages law...
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A state attorney is disputing a judge's ruling that Indiana's punitive damages limit violates the right to trial by jury and treads on judicial independence.
Solicitor General Thomas Fisher defended the law in an Indiana Supreme Court hearing Thursday.
The state appealed after a Marion County judge refused to reduce a $150,000 jury award to a man who claimed a Roman Catholic priest sexually abused him when he was 17.
Indiana's law limits punitive damages to $50,000 and allows the state to take a three-quarter share, which goes to a fund that assists victims of violent crime.
Under questioning by Justice Robert Rucker, Fisher said the law doesn't interfere with essential jury functions and is a public policy issue, not a legal one.