ILNews

Justices accept sex-offender registry cases

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court is taking on three issues relating to sex-offender restrictions, from when juveniles can be placed on a statewide registry to whether someone can be placed on the list for life.

Justices granted transfer in the past week for three criminal cases relating specifically to sex offenders and when people convicted of those crimes must have their names put on the online-accessible public registry.

In J.C.C. v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0403-JV-266, the court is taking on a case that asks whether a Marion Superior magistrate erred in 2000 when ordering a 14-year-old boy who'd forced younger boys into various sexual acts to be placed on the state's sex-offender registry. Magistrate Christopher Piazza had determined enough evidence existed to prove that the juvenile would re-offend - a standard established in caselaw exploring differences in the adult criminal justice and juvenile delinquency systems. The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's decision in a Not for Publication ruling Dec. 28, 2007, also affirming that the juvenile court didn't abuse its discretion when denying a motion to set aside the adjudications.

A second case, Richard P. Wallace v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0706-CR-498, involves an issue being argued in various state courts relating to other sex-offender restrictions. Wallace is appealing a January decision from the appellate court on his failure to register as a sex offender, which he argues is unconstitutional because it's an ex post facto law and the state had forfeited the prosecutorial right because of a plea agreement. Wallace pleaded guilty to child molesting in February 1989, and was ordered to a five-year suspended sentence with probation. Years later, Wallace argued his agreement hadn't stipulated he register as a sex offender because the state statute changes that would have required him to do so weren't passed until 2001. The appeals court panel dismissed his ex post facto claims and affirmed the decision by Marion Superior Judge Lisa Borges.

In Todd L. Jensen v. State of Indiana, No. 02A04-0706-CR-351, justices will consider whether Allen Superior Judge Frances Gull correctly ordered a man classified as a sexually violent predator to register on the statewide list for life. Jensen pleaded guilty in 2000 to child molesting and vicarious sexual gratification, was sentenced to prison, and formally released from probation in July 2004. He annually registered for the Indiana Sex Offender Registry, as he was required to do for 10 years, but was informed in September 2006 that he'd have to register for life as a sexually violent predator. The trial judge considered his registration status and determined he'd have to register, but the Court of Appeals in December 2007 reversed on grounds it violated the ex post facto considerations and ordered on remand Jensen abide by the 10-year registration requirement.

Judge Cale Bradford disagreed with the majority panel of Senior Judge Jonathan Robertson and Judge John Sharpnack, writing a dissent that noted he didn't believe any violation existed and he would have affirmed the trial court decision.

He wrote, "Given the public interest in certain informational filings, it is my opinion that requiring a sexually violent predator to maintain his current address in the registry, even for a lifetime, does not rise to the level of being so punitive as to overcome its non-punitive legislative intent, that is, to monitor the whereabouts of a violent sexual predator, the necessity of which does not diminish over time."
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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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