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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