ILNews

Federal suit targets new sex-offender law

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal suit Thursday against every state prosecutor and sheriff's office, hoping to stop them from enforcing a new sex-offender law set to begin July 1.

Specifically, the class action suit challenges a provision of the new law that will require those registered on the statewide registry to give blanket consent for searches of their computers.

The challenge comes less than two weeks after Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law the measure that hails from Senate Bill 258, entailing a larger pack of restrictions against convicted sex offenders and violent offenders. Those individuals would have to also provide authorities with any e-mail addresses they have, and some would be required to wear Global Positioning System devices.

Those registered offenders would have to sign a consent form agreeing to searches of computers or Internet-enabled devices at any time. They would also have to install Internet-monitoring software at their own expense.

"The amendment (to Indiana Code 11-8-8-8) represents a flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment and is unconstitutional," the suit says.

The suit was filed on behalf of a Marion County man using the name "John Doe" and a 41-year-old Scott County resident named Steven Morris. Doe was released from prison in 1999, isn't on probation, parole, or supervised release, and must register for life on the statewide registry; the suit gives no information regarding the crime or crimes of which he was convicted. Morris was convicted of child molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor; he is also not under any supervision and is required to register for life, the suit says.

The two plaintiffs use their home computers for financial transactions and business purposes, and neither wants to give blanket permission for the searches, the suit says.
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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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