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Justices: parole conditions unenforceable, SOMM constitutional

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The Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday ordered a trial court to enjoin the Indiana Parole Board from enforcing the conditions of a man’s parole that prevent him from associating with minors. But the justices denied his request to find the Sex Offender Management and Monitoring program is unconstitutional.

In 2005, David Bleeke was convicted of residential entry and attempted criminal deviate conduct related to an adult victim. He was released from incarceration in 2008 and placed on parole until 2015. Several of his parole conditions prohibited him from having contact with any children – including his own. After a legal challenge, Bleeke may now have contact with only his children.

In David Bleeke v. Bruce Lemmon, in his capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction; Thor R. Miller, as Chairman of the Indiana Parole Board; et al., 02S05-1305-PL-364, Bleeke challenged the specific conditions restricting his access to minors as being unconstitutional, and argued that others fail to comply with certain statutory requirements. He also claimed that several of the parole statutes are facially unconstitutional in the manner by which they classify sex offenders. He also argued that the SOMM program is both facially unconstitutional and unconstitutional as applied to him.

The Court of Appeals found that Bleeke shouldn’t be considered as an offender against children based on his attempted criminal deviate conduct conviction because the statute dictating that classification is only applicable to offenses committed after July 1, 2006. It also held the SOMM program violated Bleeke’s Fifth Amendment rights. He challenged having to sign a form that allowed a polygraph examiner to share the results of his test with a probation officer.

The justices agreed that enforcement of conditions 4,5,17,19 and 20 must be enjoined because no evidence was presented that shows Bleeke is, was, or will be a threat to children – his own or otherwise.

Regarding his SOMM challenge, Justice Steven David wrote for the unanimous court, “The question before us thus becomes whether this threat to Bleeke—answer the potentially incriminating questions or face re-incarceration—so compelled (or will compel) his answers that it violates the Fifth Amendment unless he is provided immunity. ... Regardless, we agree with those other state and federal courts applying McKune (v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24(2002)), and holding that this form of disciplinary response does not constitute a ‘penalty’ such that Bleeke would have been compelled to yield his Fifth Amendment privilege.”

“And so while he was incarcerated, the State was permitted to present Bleeke—and all SOMM inmates—with a constitutionally permissible choice: participate in the SOMM program and maintain a more favorable credit status and/or privileges within the prison system or a favorable assignment in a community transition program, or refuse to participate and instead serve out the full term for which he had been lawfully convicted,” David continued.  

The case is remanded for further proceedings.
 

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  • What of wrongfully convicted?
    What becomes of a person who maintains his innocence throughout the trial, who is nevertheless found guilty, who does his time and who SOMM then "requires them to take responsibility for their offenses" by admitting their guilt? How is that any different than someone signing a confession under coercion or duress? Because if the wrongfully convicted party refuses to admit his guilt, he will continue in prison for the full length of his sentence, a longer term than guilty parties who complete their SOMM requirements. How is that justice?

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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