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Inmate loses challenge to law ending certain educational funding

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The 2011 amendment that stopped state funding of postsecondary education programs in correctional facilities for convicted felons who are confined in a penal facility is not an ex post facto law nor does it violate an inmate’s constitutional rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

Terrell Hawkins, who was incarcerated for Class A felony dealing in cocaine, was halfway through obtaining an associate’s degree from Ivy Tech Community College when Ivy Tech ended its program in the prison. The Legislature amended Indiana Code 21-12-3-13 to restrict certain felons from receiving state-funded educational programs.

Hawkins, now unable to finish his degree, filed a verified petition for additional credit time, which was denied. He raised several arguments: the amendment violates constitutional prohibitions against ex post facto laws, his constitutional right to equal protection was violated; and his right to equal treatment under the Indiana Constitution was violated.

He claimed the violations happened when inmates who had only one semester left until completing their degrees were allowed to finish the program, whereas he was no longer able.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of his petition for additional credit time. The amendment is not an ex post facto law because although he may have lost a chance to get educational credit time, the amendment didn’t increase his sentence or alter the definition of his criminal conduct, Senior Judge William Garrard wrote in Terrell Hawkins v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1201-CR-12.

The distinction between the two groups of inmates has a rational basis and serves a legitimate governmental purpose of encouraging inmate rehabilitation despite budgetary challenges, he continued.

The judges also found that the denial of his credit time petition did not violate the language or intent of I.C. 35-50-6-3.3.

 

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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