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COA finds 2007 version of statute is an ex post facto law

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed in part a man’s petition for post-conviction relief challenging the finding that he is ineligible to petition for a change of status regarding being a sexually violent predator. The 2007 version of the applicable statute is an unconstitutional ex post facto law as applied to him.

In Michael R. Flanders v. State of Indiana, No. 48A02-1009-PC-1019, Michael Flanders was convicted of Class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor in April 2007 stemming from an incident with a neighbor in 2005. Flanders also had a previous Class C felony child molesting conviction, so he was also charged with and convicted of being a repeat sex offender. At the time of his conviction, he was not classified as a sexually violent predator, but later the Indiana Department of Correction classified him as one.

On appeal of his denial for post-conviction relief, Flanders claimed ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel and challenged his reclassification by the DOC, which subjects him to more burdensome registration and reporting requirements.

Focusing on the 2007 amendments to Indiana Code 35-38-1-7.5, which clarified that certain convictions qualify someone as a SVP “by operation of law” and disallowed someone with two unrelated convictions for sex offenses to petition for removal of the SVP designation, the judges found the amendments to the registration statutes to be unconstitutional ex post facto laws as applied to Flanders.

His case is distinguishable from Jensen v. State, 905 N.E.2d 384, 389 (Ind. 2009), and Lemmon v. Harris, 949 N.E.2d 803 (Ind. 2011), because under the court-adopted seven-factor test, No. 7 – whether the sanction is excessive in relation to the alternative purpose – is punitive in regards to Flanders because he can’t petition the court to change his status due to the fact he has two unrelated convictions for sex offenses, wrote Judge Terry Crone.

The judges rejected the state’s claim that Flanders’ relief should be denied because he didn’t comply with I.C. 11-8-8-22 regarding removing a person’s offender designation or requiring the person to register under less restrictive conditions. They also rejected Flanders’ argument that his SVP designation should be reversed because of the ex post facto violation.

“The problematic provision is Indiana Code Section 35-38-1-7.5(g), which made offenders with two or more unrelated convictions for sex offenses ineligible to petition the court for a change in status. Flanders can be placed in the same position as offenders like Harris and Jensen by reinstating his right to petition the court for removal of his SVP status after ten years,” wrote the judge.

The COA also upheld the finding that he did not receive ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel.

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  • COA/ESP
    How does the COA know counsel wasn't ineffective? Were they there? I think not!

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  1. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  2. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

  3. So this firebrand GOP Gov was set free by a "unanimous Supreme Court" , a court which is divided, even bitterly, on every culture war issue. WHAT A RESOUNDING SLAP in the Virginia Court's face! How bad must it have been. And all the journalists, lap dogs of the status quo they are, can do is howl that others cannot be railroaded like McDonald now??? Cannot reflect upon the ruining of Winston and Julia's life and love? (Oh I forget, the fiction at this Ministry of Truth is that courts can never err, and when they do, and do greatly, as here, why then it must be ignored, since it does not compute.)

  4. My daughter is a addict and my grandson was taken by DCS and while in hospital for overdose my daughter was told to sign papers from DCS giving up her parental rights of my grandson to the biological father's mom and step-dad. These people are not the best to care for him and I was never called or even given the chance to take him, but my daughter had given me guardianship but we never went to court to finalize the papers. Please I have lost my daughter and I dont want to lose my grandson as well. I hope and look forward to speaking with you God Bless and Thank You for all of your help

  5. To Bob- Goooooood, I'm glad you feel that way! He's alive and happy and thriving and out and I'm his woman and we live in West Palm Beach Florida, where his parents have a sprawling estate on an exclusive golf course......scum bag

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