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COA rules in favor of DOC employee

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has found the trial court should have granted summary judgment to a Department of Correction employee on a man's claim that he was personally deprived a liberty interest when the DOC refused to remove his name from the sex offender registry.

In Brent Myers v. Jarod Coats, No. 49A04-1104-PL-208, Jarod Coats had tried unsuccessfully to have his name removed from Indiana’s sex offender registry. Coats pleaded guilty but mentally ill in 1999 to two counts of battery, one count of intimidation, and one count of criminal confinement. Although no children were involved in any of the charges and Coats has never been convicted of a sex offense, the DOC told him he had to register as a sex offender. The DOC maintains the registry; Brent Myers is the director of registration and victim services.

Coats kept his registration current, while disputing the requirement and unsuccessfully attempting to have his name removed from the list. After filing suit in federal court in 2009, Coats was removed from the registry and the case was dismissed. He then filed a complaint for declaratory relief and damages in state court against Myers under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, alleging Myers failed to provide Coats with a procedure to challenge his erroneous listing.

The trial court concluded that Coats had a liberty interest in not being mistakenly labeled as a sex offender and that the process to challenge the erroneous listening was inadequate, which the COA affirmed. The trial court found that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Myers personally deprived Coats of a constitutional right, which the judges reversed. Any policy Myers contributed to or produced was subject to input from supervisors and the DOC’s legal counsel, which undercuts Coats’ argument that Myers was the driving force behind the failure to provide a policy, ruled the COA. The judges entered summary judgment for Myers on this issue.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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