ILNews

Justices ready for sex-offender registry issue

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court will consider two cases this week asking whether convicted sex offenders can be required to register for life on a statewide database.

The state's highest appeals court will hear a combined argument Thursday in Todd L. Jensen v. State, No. 02A04-0706-CR-351, and Richard P. Wallace v. State, No. 49A02-0706-CR-498. Arguments are set to begin at 9:45 a.m. and can be viewed online through a webcast.

Now, Jensen v. State and Wallace v. State have a combined case number of 02S04-0803-CR-137.

The Jensen case comes from Allen Superior Court, where in 2000 Todd L. Jensen pleaded guilty to various child-related crimes and was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. But in 2006 - two years after Jensen had been released from probation - Superior Judge Frances Gull determined he should be classified as a sexually violent predator and must register for life on the statewide registry. The Court of Appeals reversed in a December 2007 decision, finding that it violated ex post facto considerations and determining that Jensen should abide by the 10-year registration requirement.

Similar arguments are being raised in Wallace, which hails from Marion County. Richard P. Wallace pleaded guilty in 1989 to an offense against a child, served his sentence, and learned that he would have to register for life as a sex offender.

The Court of Appeals rejected Wallace's arguments and affirmed his conviction in a January ruling, finding that the requirement that he register for life didn't violate the prohibition against ex post facto laws.

This is the third time the justices are considering sex-offender related cases in the past two weeks. Justices heard arguments April 30 in J.C.C. v. State, No. 49A02-0403-JV-266, that asked whether juveniles - a 14-year-old boy in this case - can be placed on the state's sex offender registry for forcing younger boys into various sexual acts.
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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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