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COA upholds violent offender registration

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the state's sex and violent offender registry doesn't violate the Indiana Constitution by requiring violent offenders to register for a 10-year period or for life. The appellate court also overturned a Marion Superior Court judge's grant of a preliminary injunction barring lifetime registration by certain violent offenders, finding the injunction should only apply to a specific subclass of offenders.

In James Gibson, Mark Lamar, and John Doe, and others similarly situated v. Indiana Department of Correction, et al., No. 49A04-0803-CV-165, Gibson and other plaintiffs challenged the amendments to Indiana's statute creating a sex and violent offender registry, which required violent offenders to register for either 10 years or for a lifetime depending on the crime and other circumstances. The plaintiffs are all violent offenders and believe the recently amended statute, Indiana Code Section 36-2-13-5.5, violates Article I, Sections 12 and 23 of the state's constitution.

The plaintiffs argue the registry violates the Privileges and Immunities clause in Section 23 because it requires registration by people convicted of only certain crimes that caused death. The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that the registry is for people who "have demonstrated intentional violent deadly behavior towards another person."

Those who commit lesser crimes that happen to result in death haven't demonstrated the intentional violent deadly behavior toward another person that would require compliance with the registry, wrote Judge Terry Crone. There are sufficient inherent differences between murder, felony murder, voluntary manslaughter, and attempts to commit those crimes as compared to other offenses resulting in death that allow the General Assembly to specify different treatment, the judge continued.

The appellate court also affirmed the registry doesn't violate Section 12 because there is some recidivism among violent offenders, which means community notification about violent offenders provides an opportunity for enhancing public safety. Requiring violent offenders to register for at least some period of time meets the low threshold of rational relation, wrote Judge Crone.

The plaintiffs failed to meet the requirements for a preliminary injunction on registration, except for a small subset who have been more than 10 years removed from the date of release from prison, placed on parole or probation, put in community corrections, and aren't violent sexual predators. The Court of Appeals reversed the grant of a preliminary injunction against lifetime registration for all violent offenders and remanded with instructions to clarify the preliminary injunction consistent with the opinion. A violent offender is required to comply with the registry for 10 years unless he or she also falls within a subsection of the statute requiring lifetime registration, wrote Judge Crone.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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