ILNews

Federal suit targets new sex-offender law

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal suit Thursday against every state prosecutor and sheriff's office, hoping to stop them from enforcing a new sex-offender law set to begin July 1.

Specifically, the class action suit challenges a provision of the new law that will require those registered on the statewide registry to give blanket consent for searches of their computers.

The challenge comes less than two weeks after Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law the measure that hails from Senate Bill 258, entailing a larger pack of restrictions against convicted sex offenders and violent offenders. Those individuals would have to also provide authorities with any e-mail addresses they have, and some would be required to wear Global Positioning System devices.

Those registered offenders would have to sign a consent form agreeing to searches of computers or Internet-enabled devices at any time. They would also have to install Internet-monitoring software at their own expense.

"The amendment (to Indiana Code 11-8-8-8) represents a flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment and is unconstitutional," the suit says.

The suit was filed on behalf of a Marion County man using the name "John Doe" and a 41-year-old Scott County resident named Steven Morris. Doe was released from prison in 1999, isn't on probation, parole, or supervised release, and must register for life on the statewide registry; the suit gives no information regarding the crime or crimes of which he was convicted. Morris was convicted of child molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor; he is also not under any supervision and is required to register for life, the suit says.

The two plaintiffs use their home computers for financial transactions and business purposes, and neither wants to give blanket permission for the searches, the suit says.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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