Court must consider man’s motion to prohibit release of criminal record

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Because a man filed his motion to prohibit the release of his criminal record before the Indiana Legislature repealed the relevant statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the Hancock Superior Court to consider the motion.

Hancock Superior Judge Dan E. Marshall denied John Alden’s motion on two grounds: Alden failed to provide notice to the Office of the Indiana Attorney General and the Indiana State Police Central Repository; and the Legislature had repealed I.C. 35-38-8-5.

Alden filed his motion to prohibit the release of his criminal record June 4, 2013, and served his motion only on the Hancock County prosecutor. Shortly after he filed the motion, the General Assembly repealed the statute.

Alden argued he met the requirements of the statute, which at the time allowed courts to restrict access to the conviction records of qualifying offenders eight years after they completed their sentences.

The Court of Appeals reiterated its April 30 ruling in Pittman v. State, that I.C. 35-38-8-3 does not require petitioners to serve notice on either the attorney general or the ISPCR.  Alden fulfilled the notice requirements of Indiana Criminal Rule 18 by serving the prosecutor, the adverse party “of record” under the rule. The petition is an additional filing in the criminal case and not a new, free-standing cause of action.

The judges also found I.C. 1-1-5-6 dispositive; the statute applies to the repeal of a statute or part of a statute that has expired and provides that the repeal does not affect the validity of an action taken before the statute has expired.

“While Indiana courts have never interpreted this provision of the Indiana Code, its plain language indicates that a party has a right to pursue an action allowed by statute even if that statute is later repealed, as long as the party undertakes the action prior to the repeal. Accordingly, because Alden filed his motion before the Legislature repealed Indiana Code § 35-38-8-3, we conclude that the repeal did not affect the validity of his action,” Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote in John Alden v. State of Indiana, 30A05-1309-MI-463.


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