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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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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