ILNews

Court reverses probation revocation

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A mapping system showing a potential day-care center near a residence wasn't enough to convince to the Indiana Court of Appeals that a Marion County sex offender's probation should be revoked for staying at the residence one night.

The court unanimously ruled today in Clinton Carden v. State of Indiana, 49A02-0608-CR-700. Marion Superior Magistrate Nancy Broyles had revoked Carden's four-year probation that was a result of his 2001 guilty plea to one felony count of child molesting and part of his overall 10-year sentence.

He was not to live within 1,000 feet of a school or place frequented by children, had to have a single verifiable residence in Marion County, and was not to be within two blocks of any child-prone area. Carden wanted to live with his girlfriend, but his probation officer used an unidentified "mapping system" to find that wasn't allowed because the address was within the two-block vicinity of an unnamed day care.

Three visits to Carden's address in June 2006 showed that Carden wasn't there, but the presence of his girlfriend's children there concerned the probation officer. Carden told the probation officer he wasn't at his home during the visits because he'd spent one night with his girlfriend and another night with a friend. Within a week, the state filed a probation violation notice against him, and the trial court revoked his probation.

In the appellate decision, the court determined that the trial court committed a fundamental error and deprived Carden of his rights.

"Here, the only evidence used to revoke Carden's probation was [the parole officer's] testimony that some unidentified mapping system showed that the Barnett address was within two blocks of some unnamed daycare center," Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote. "And there was no information that the daycare was even in business when Carden spent the night at [his girlfriend's] address. The error in admitting [the parole officer's] testimony is so prejudicial to Carden's rights as to make a fair trial impossible. Without [the parole officer's] testimony, there is simply no evidence to show that Carden entered within two blocks of a daycare center."
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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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