ILNews

Judges disagree on registration by homeless

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed today in an opinion in which the majority ruled that a man who claimed he was temporarily homeless should be charged with violating the Indiana statute that requires registered sex offenders to provide their new address to authorities within seven days of a move. One judge dissented, saying their ruling would make homelessness a crime.

Judges L. Mark Bailey and Ezra Friedlander affirmed Daniel J. Milliner's conviction for failing to register as a sex offender and the order revoking his probation and reinstatement of his previously suspended sentence.

In Daniel J. Milliner v. State of Indiana, No. 31A01-0710-CR-470, Milliner argued that after he and his wife separated in late July 2005, he was temporarily homeless and was living with different friends and relatives for a couple of days at a time before he moved in with his girlfriend in fall 2005. Because he considered himself homeless, Milliner said he believed he wasn't required to register every time he moved.

However, the majority didn't agree that he was homeless but that he temporarily made his home with others. Milliner said he never lived with someone for more than seven days, so he didn't have to register each address. The seven-day grace period allows for a registrant to avoid prosecution by reporting a change of address, whether permanent or temporary, wrote Judge Bailey, not that one only has to register if they live in one place for more than seven days.

"The record shows that Milliner moved from one residence and to another, even if the new residence was temporary, 'thereby changing his home address,' and that he failed to re-register as a sex offender within seven days of the move," the judge wrote.

In a short dissent, Judge James Kirsch disagreed with his colleagues in the interpretation of the statute requiring registration. According to the judge, the majority make homelessness a crime for anyone who is required to register as a sex offender.

Judge Kirsch wrote that their interpretation is that the statute requires a homeless person to register every place that he or she sleeps within seven days, even if that is a homeless shelter or park bench. That is not what the General Assembly intended when it enacted the registry statute, wrote the judge.

"A homeless individual who moves about, staying at emergency homeless shelters when space is available and on the streets when it is not, would be required to register retroactively every single day the location where he slept six days earlier even though doing so would not provide any meaningful information to anyone or protect the public in any way," he wrote.
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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