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Judges reverse man's removal from sex offender list

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A trial court erred in ordering a man’s name removed from the state’s sex offender registry because the court didn’t provide notice to the appropriate parties or hold a hearing before doing so, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Mickey Shawn Gambler wrote a letter to Allen Superior Court in April 2010 to see if he could be removed from the Indiana Sex Offender Registry. Gambler was convicted of a sex offense in Ohio in 1995; the act occurred in 1994.

The trial court issued an order taking judicial notice of the letter and directed Gambler to serve the letter to all parties of record. The order, letter, and matter were forwarded to the appropriate Allen County court for a ruling. In May 2010, Allen Superior Judge Frances Gull ordered the Allen County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana Department of Correction to remove Gambler from the registry. Judge Gull ruled due to Wallace v. State, 905 N.E.2d 371 (Ind. 2009), Gambler isn’t required to register in Indiana based on the Ohio conviction.

The Court of Appeals reversed in In Re: State of Ohio Conviction Against Mickey Shawn Gambler, No. 02A04-1008-CR-509, because Gambler didn’t follow the required steps under state statute to have his named removed from the registry. A petition, or document purported to be a petition, must be submitted under the penalties of perjury, list each jurisdiction in which the offender has to register, and for each criminal conviction list the offense, court and date of judgment, and whether the offender pleaded guilty or was convicted by trial.

Gambler’s letter was insufficient to raise the issue of whether the trial court would remove him from the registry, so on the face of it, the trial court erred in ruling his letter provided sufficient information to proceed in this matter, wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb.

“Further, even if Gambler’s letter was sufficient to constitute a petition under this statute, the trial court must either summarily dismiss it or give notice to several government actors and set the matter for a hearing before proceeding,” she wrote. “Here, the record does not indicate the trial court provided notice to the necessary government actors or held a hearing on the matter. Therefore, on the face of the record, DOC has demonstrated prima facie error in granting Gambler’s petition.”

The judges ordered the trial court to dismiss the case without prejudice subject to further proceedings in the event Gambler files a sufficient petition.

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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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