ILNews

Application of residency law unconstitutional

Rebecca Berfanger
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals today upheld a lower court's ruling that in at least one case of the state's application of a law prohibiting violent and child sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or public area where children congregate is unconstitutional.

The ruling came in State of Indiana v. Anthony W. Pollard, No. 05A02-0707-CR-640. Judges heard arguments in the case March 31. The state argued that Indiana Code Section 35-42-4-11 was not considered ex post facto law as applied to Anthony W. Pollard, but the appeals court disagreed and affirmed a ruling by Blackford Superior Judge John Forcum that dismissed the felony charge against him.

At the time of his April 4, 1997, criminal conviction of committing a sex-related offense against a child, Pollard's home was within 1,000 feet of a school property, a youth program center, or a public park. He was not required to move away from his home as part of his sentence or as a result of his conviction. At the time he had lived there for about 10 years. That was nearly 10 years before the sex-offender residency statute went into effect July 1, 2006.

He still lives in the same home. On Jan. 26, 2007, the state charged Pollard with a Class D felony sex-offender residency offense. On March 2, 2007, Pollard filed a motion to dismiss. The trial court granted Pollard's motion to dismiss June 21, 2007, determining that Indiana Code section 35-42-4-11 violated the ex post facto prohibition contained in Article 1, Section 24 of Indiana's Constitution as applied to Pollard, adding that the application of Indiana Code Section 35-42-4-11 served to retroactively increase the punishment for the crime committed.

The state appealed, but the Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court.

"While we cannot speak to the purpose of the residency statute, we can observe its unmistakable effect," wrote Judge Paul D. Mathias. "The residency statute clearly increases the penalty applied to affected sex offenders by preventing those offenders from residing and taking full advantage of their ownership rights in property acquired prior to conviction and prior to the imposition of the statute. In contrast, the registration statute does not implicate any fundamental rights; rather, it places only an administrative burden on offenders."

Judge Mathias continued, "The residency statute also impinges upon one of this country's most closely held rights, the right to property."

The opinion also examines other states' versions of the sex-offender residency restrictions.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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