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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. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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