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COA affirms sexually violent predator findings

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the finding that two defendants are sexually violent predators, ruling the state had produced sufficient evidence to support the determinations under the versions of the sexually violent predator statute used by the trial courts in each case.

In Johanna P. Williams v. State, No. 47A05-0802-CR-101 and Ronald Lynn Scott Jr. v. State, No. 82A04-0802-CR-85, Johanna Williams and Ronald Lynn Scott Jr. challenged the findings that they were sexually violent predators. The Court of Appeals mentioned its decisions in both cases in the two opinions.

Williams pleaded guilty to child molesting as a Class C felony and sexual misconduct with a minor as a Class C felony following two incidents involving her niece and a foster child in her sister's care. Scott pleaded guilty to three counts of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor following an incident with his niece.

Williams challenged her enhanced sentence under Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004), arguing she is entitled to the former presumptive sentencing scheme since she committed her crimes in March 2005. The Court of Appeals found the facts underlying the aggravator - that Williams was in a position of trust with her victims - wasn't established by the state. The facts underlying the aggravator weren't found by a jury nor admitted by Williams or her attorney, wrote Judge Patricia Riley. The appellate court remanded to allow the state to establish a position of trust aggravator consistent with Blakely. If the state elects not to do so, the trial court is to re-sentence Williams without any aggravators, wrote the judge.

The three-judge panel affirmed the findings Williams and Scott were sexually violent predators, ruling there was sufficient evidence to support the determination. The trial court in Williams’ case operated under the terms of the amended 2006/2007 statutes in effect at the time of her sexually violent predator and sentencing hearing, where in Scott’s case, the trial court used the 2004 statutes, wrote Judge Riley.

In both cases, Williams and Scott met the criteria to be considered sexual violent predators. Several pieces of evidence support the SVP finding against Williams, including her lack of remorse, a doctor’s diagnosis of Williams with pedophilia, alcohol abuse, personality disorder, and a brain injury, and the doctor’s testimony Williams is a sexually violent predator, wrote the judge.

As in Williams, the two doctors who evaluated Scott didn’t agree he was a sexually violent predator; however, with the one doctor’s report Scott is likely to offend again, Scott’s previous conviction for attempted child molesting, and his lack of remorse, there is enough evidence to support the SVP finding, wrote Judge Riley.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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