ILNews

Court reverses probation revocation

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A mapping system showing a potential day-care center near a residence wasn't enough to convince to the Indiana Court of Appeals that a Marion County sex offender's probation should be revoked for staying at the residence one night.

The court unanimously ruled today in Clinton Carden v. State of Indiana, 49A02-0608-CR-700. Marion Superior Magistrate Nancy Broyles had revoked Carden's four-year probation that was a result of his 2001 guilty plea to one felony count of child molesting and part of his overall 10-year sentence.

He was not to live within 1,000 feet of a school or place frequented by children, had to have a single verifiable residence in Marion County, and was not to be within two blocks of any child-prone area. Carden wanted to live with his girlfriend, but his probation officer used an unidentified "mapping system" to find that wasn't allowed because the address was within the two-block vicinity of an unnamed day care.

Three visits to Carden's address in June 2006 showed that Carden wasn't there, but the presence of his girlfriend's children there concerned the probation officer. Carden told the probation officer he wasn't at his home during the visits because he'd spent one night with his girlfriend and another night with a friend. Within a week, the state filed a probation violation notice against him, and the trial court revoked his probation.

In the appellate decision, the court determined that the trial court committed a fundamental error and deprived Carden of his rights.

"Here, the only evidence used to revoke Carden's probation was [the parole officer's] testimony that some unidentified mapping system showed that the Barnett address was within two blocks of some unnamed daycare center," Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote. "And there was no information that the daycare was even in business when Carden spent the night at [his girlfriend's] address. The error in admitting [the parole officer's] testimony is so prejudicial to Carden's rights as to make a fair trial impossible. Without [the parole officer's] testimony, there is simply no evidence to show that Carden entered within two blocks of a daycare center."
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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