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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. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

  4. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

  5. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

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