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Judge certifies sex offender's class-action suit

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A federal judge has certified a convicted sex offender's suit against the Indiana Department of Correction as a class action. The plaintiff claims registrants have no procedure to correct errors on the sex and violent offender registry.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed suit in October 2009 on behalf of David Schepers, who is listed on the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry as a sex offender and a violent offender. Schepers was convicted of two sex offenses - rape in 1987 and two counts of child exploitation in 2006. He is challenging his listing as a sexually violent predator and that the registry states he was convicted of two rapes instead of one.

Schepers claims because the DOC doesn't have a process to challenge factually erroneous information or inform registrants of such a process, this violates his due process rights and the due process rights of all other registrants.

The DOC challenged Schepers' motion for class certification, arguing his class definition isn't specific enough, and others haven't come forward to say their information is incorrect and there's no way to fix it.

U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence of the Southern District of Indiana found Schepers' suit satisfies the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) and (b). His proposed class is specific enough: those who are on the registry are putative class members; those who are not on it are excluded from the class. The number of registered offenders is so large that joinder of all of them would be impracticable.

Schepers doesn't have to show that others want to challenge their listing in the registry, only that the DOC has failed to inform registrants how to challenge their listing. In addition, Schepers has shown he is an appropriate class representative, and if he prevails on the merits, injunctive relief will be appropriate.

A bench trial for David Schepers, et al., v. Commissioner, Indiana Department of Correction, No. 1:09-CV-1324, has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2011.

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  1. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  2. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  3. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  4. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  5. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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