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Judges find court should have granted expungement

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Finding that the word “shall” in Indiana Code 35-38-9-2(d) is mandatory language requiring expungement, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a man’s petition to expunge his 2004 misdemeanor sexual misconduct with a minor conviction.

The issue in Jason Taylor v. State of Indiana, 45A03-1310-CR-406, is while I.C. 35-38-9-2, which applies to misdemeanor convictions, may appear clear and unambiguous on its face, it is ambiguous when read in conjunction with I.C. 35-38-9-9(d), which requires the court to consider the victim’s statement before making its determination. Section 2 says that the court “shall order the conviction records described in subsection (b) expunged in accordance with section 6 of this chapter,” as long as conditions outlined in the section are met.

The trial judge denied Jason Taylor’s request to expunge his Class A misdemeanor conviction based on the victim’s testimony. Taylor met all the other conditions outlined in Section 2 and the state agreed his conviction should be expunged.

He pleaded guilty to a sexual misconduct charge as a Class D felony that was later reduced to the Class A misdemeanor.

The interpretation of Section 2 is an issue of first impression for the appeals court.

“We agree with Taylor that Section 35-38-9-2(d) unambiguously requires expungement when all of the statutory requirements are satisfied. Section 35-38-9-2(d) states that the trial court ‘shall order’ the conviction records expunged when all statutory requirements are met. Had the legislature intended the expungement of conviction records under Section 35-38-9-2(d) to be discretionary, it would have used the word ‘may’ instead of the word ‘shall,’” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote.

This decision does not render Section 9-9(d) meaningless, as the state had argued, because it applies to other sections under Chapter 9 where the trial court is required to consider a victim’s testimony before granting expungement, Vaidik continued.
 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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