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Abrams: We Will Provide Value And Be Meaningful

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abrams-jeff-indybarI am embarking on the presidency of the Indianapolis Bar Association. I see my role as the manager of a phenomenal team willing to sacrifice their time to serve others and provide unique benefits to the public. It is my role to be sure that our outstanding staff at the IndyBar consisting of Julie, Kari, Mary Kay, Chris, Tara, Ashley, Caren, Natalie, Stephanie and Tabitha help you in your careers and implement the programs we have decided to provide the public. I was once told that you do not have to be the smartest person in the room, just be sure you surround yourself with smarter people. I have done that. The officers and board of directors of the Indianapolis Bar Association and chairs of the sections, committees, divisions and task forces will help me successfully achieve our goals for 2014.

Bar associations all over the country are changing and evolving. Many of them are slow to make changes and improve the services that they provide to its members. We have been at the forefront of embracing change and welcoming new and creative programs for the benefit of our members. The Indy Attorneys Network Section is a good example.

A couple of years ago, two young intellectual property/patent attorneys wanted to meet more Indianapolis lawyers since their scope of practice limited the attorneys they met. They brainstormed with other attorneys to determine that there was a need being underserved with our bar association. They put together a proposal to the Executive Committee of the IndyBar, which was overwhelmingly supported in its presentation to the board of directors. The board also saw the creativity and genius behind this new section to provide Indianapolis attorneys with an opportunity to meet other attorneys to help them grow individually, socially and professionally.

This section currently has in excess of 175 attorneys. Each attorney receives an email each month introducing them to another member of the section and encouraging them to meet. They have also had a couple events for the entire section where speakers were brought in a social setting to advance the personal growth of each of these attorneys. We are unaware of any other bar association that had this type of section or program, and its membership total after just its first full year is impressive.

I remember when I was first asked to get involved with the Indianapolis Bar Foundation. I spent almost 25 years being a member of the IndyBar but participated in very few events. I always saw the organization primarily as a resource for litigators and the court system. I am a commercial real estate attorney, not a litigator.

Within the first couple of years of serving on the board of the IBF, a fellow officer referred me a case that was only partially related to real estate but primarily a litigation matter. He knew I would not be primarily involved in the case, but he trusted me to be sure the client was well taken care of.

Our firm received in excess of $100,000 in legal fees all as a result of my involvement with the IBF and getting to know this attorney. I was forever grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know this attorney better and for him to have referred this case to me, which I never would have seen had I not been involved. I hear other stories like this from many attorneys including those with whom I have sent cases and work as a result of their participation with the IBF and the IndyBar.

I have also gotten to know hundreds of attorneys, primarily in the litigation world, that I never would have gotten to know but for my involvement with the IBF and the IndyBar. I can honestly say that my life has been enriched by meeting these people and calling them friends. I do not know how anyone else could see it any other way if you get involved with the IndyBar and meet other lawyers.

We will endeavor to provide additional services and benefits for the members of the IndyBar so that each of you, if not currently members, will consider joining in 2014 and give us an opportunity to show that there is real value in being part of the IndyBar. Give us a chance. I know that we can make a difference for each of you and for the community that we serve.

One of my mentors enjoyed writing poetry for special occasions to express his thoughts. I have enjoyed honoring him by trying to provide some humorous and thoughtful prose that just happens to rhyme. So one unique aspect of my column will be for it to end with a poem.

It is my honor to serve as the president of the IndyBar.

If we have not yet met, I hope our paths cross and we meet someday.
Join the IndyBar and give us a chance to provide value during your working day.
I know we can be successful in helping you be a rising star and not lead you astray.
The IndyBar is here for you in everything that you may do.
So that the senior partner or employer gives you a glowing annual review!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!•

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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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