ILNews

Court reaffirms 3-step test for in camera review

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The Indiana Court of Appeals doesn’t believe that its previous ruling regarding the in camera review of an organization’s documents relating to alleged molestation victims sends the message that it’s “open season” on the records of victim services providers.

On rehearing in Subpoena to Crisis Connection, Inc., State of Indiana v. Ronald Keith Fromme, No.19A05-0910-CR-602, Crisis Connection Inc., a nonprofit that provides services for domestic violence and sexual assault victims, challenged the appellate court’s July 15 decision affirming an order for an in camera review of documents from the nonprofit relating to alleged molestation victims of Ronald Keith Fromme. The issue was a matter of first impression that came before the court on interlocutory appeal.

The organization claimed the opinion didn’t require defendants to make any threshold showing before obtaining an in camera review of confidential records and wanted the court to adopt the standard in People v. Stanaway, 521 N.W.2d 557 (Mich. 1994). But the judges did determine what standard criminal defendants should meet and used the three-step test that determines what information is discoverable in criminal cases: particularity, relevance, and if those are met, then the trial court must grant the request unless there is a showing of “paramount interest” in non-disclosure, wrote Judge Terry Crone.  

Crisis Connection also argued the appellate court improperly found it conceded that Fromme met the particularity and materiality criteria when it said “Crisis Connection has not disputed those findings.” Judge Crone wrote that the court didn’t find Crisis Connection affirmatively ceded this point, just that it didn’t present an argument as to the validity of the trial court’s findings.

“Therefore, our opinion provides little detail as to what sort of showing would suffice to meet the particularity and materiality criteria. Crisis Connection expresses concern that this lack of detail will send the message to attorneys and trial courts ‘that open season has been declared on the records of victim services providers,’” he wrote.

The Court of Appeals disagreed because the judges didn’t think the opinion sends the message that meeting the first two requirements will be an easy task in every case.

“[T]his case simply has not presented us with an occasion to expand upon those parts of the three-step test. Because discovery disputes are almost always fact-sensitive, we decline to elaborate beyond the enunciation of the appropriate standard to be applied,” he wrote.

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...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.

  5. 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.

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