Award Winning Journalist™ Chuck C. Johnson may have broken Indiana state law by
publishing obtaining the death certificates of the parents of US Judge Gonzalo Curiel.
Indiana statutes provide that only persons with “a direct interest,” such as family members, may obtain copies of death and birth certificates. They must also provide identification and state their reasons.
Curiel is the judge hearing class action fraud cases against Trump University. Presidential candidate Donald Trump (R-Blowhard) has called Curiel a Mexican, though he was born in Indiana, and a member of the political group La Raza, though Curiel is clearly not a member. Trump wants Curiel to recuse himself from the case, claiming the judge is biased against Trump because of the latter’s controversial statements about Mexican immigration.
Johnson, who spurned Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Loser) in favor of the GOP frontrunner, has jumped on the bandwagon against Curiel. A few days ago, he tried to prove Curiel belonged to La Raza, though his alleged evidence proved the judge belonged to a different organization, the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association.
Now the Ginger Avenger is trying to claim Curiel is an “anchor baby,” because the ace researcher can’t find the naturalization records of the judge’s parents.
He published their death certificates, however,
though it’s probably illegal.
Ind. Code § 16-37-1-10 : Indiana Code – Section 16-37-1-10: Disclosure of data in records; conditions for availability of death certificate; grounds for state registrar’s denial Indiana Code 2015
Sec. 10. (a) Except as provided in subsection (c), the records and
files of the division of the state department concerning vital statistics
are subject to this article and rules of the state department. Data
contained in the records and files may be disclosed only as follows:
(1) The state registrar shall permit inspection of the records or
issue a certified copy of a certificate or part of a certificate only
if the state registrar is satisfied of the following:
(A) That the applicant has a direct interest in the matter
(B) That the information is necessary for the determination
of personal or property rights or for compliance with state or
The state registrar’s decision is subject to review by the state
department or a court under this section.
(2) The state department may permit the use of data contained
in vital statistical records for research purposes only, but no
identifying use may be made of the data.
(3) In any extraordinary case that the state registrar determines
is a direct tangible and legitimate public interest.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a)(1) through (a)(3), a certificate
of death received by a local health department (as defined in
IC 16-18-2-211) or the state department is a public record that, upon
request, must be made available for inspection and copying if:
(1) the copy made of the certificate of death is not a certified
(2) any Social Security number that appears on the certificate of
death is redacted; and
(3) any charge or fee that is due under section 9, 11, or 11.5 of
this chapter is collected.
(c) The birth record of an adopted child remains subject to the
confidentiality provisions of IC 31-19 regarding the release of
(d) The state registrar may deny a request to inspect or copy a
record concerning vital statistics that is in the state registrar’s
possession if the state registrar has a reasonable suspicion that
releasing the record may result in fraud or identity theft.
As added by P.L.2-1993, SEC.20. Amended by P.L.1-1997, SEC.91;
P.L.257-1997(ss), SEC.29; P.L.1-1999, SEC.45; P.L.171-2015,
See more at: Justia – 2015 Indiana Code [PDF]
Applicants must indicate on the request form their interest in obtaining the record in question, as well as provide identification. Indiana vital records FAQ
However, Johnson published what he says are the death certificates of Judge Curiel’s parents on his blog, as well as other documentation regarding his father’s work history and entry in the USA from Mexico.
We’re not lawyers here, but somehow we think publishing the death certificates under false pretenses of the parents of a sitting federal judge is not especially wise. YMMV.
[EDITORS NOTE: This post was amended at 10:00 AM ET to replace the previous Indiana statute with the 2015 version.]
[EDITORS NOTE 2: The post was amended at 11:47 AM ET to reflect that publishing the death certificates would not necessarily be illegal, but obtaining them under false pretenses could be. However, our perusal of Indiana state code shows no penalties for falsely obtaining death certificates. Lying to obtain copies of birth certificates, on the other hand, is a class 6 felony under the 2015 code.]