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Justices deny sex offender park ban case

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The Indiana Supreme Court has declined after nine months to accept a case asking whether registered sex offenders can be banned from parks and recreational areas.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana had asked the state's justices to grant transfer in John Doe v. Town of Plainfield, No. 32A01-0803-CV-133, after the Court of Appeals ruled in September 2008. The appellate panel affirmed a Hendricks Superior judge's decision and upheld the town's ordinance restricting offenders from visiting parks, finding that the Indiana Constitution doesn't ensure a person's right to enter a public park.

Justice Theodore Boehm was the only justice who wanted to accept transfer, according to the appellate court's online docket listing for Thursday.

The ACLU of Indiana's legal director, Ken Falk, filed a transfer petition to the state's highest court in mid-October, and the case was subsequently funneled to the court for consideration after briefing. The docket entry shows the justices received the request Nov. 19.

The Court of Appeals ruling was the first state appellate decision addressing the issue in Indiana, Falk said, and it's expected to impact other pending cases involving similar ordinances throughout the state.

In the transfer petition, Falk argued the ordinance represents ex post facto punishment, burdens constitutionally protected privacy rights, and is not rationally related to the legitimate government purpose of protecting people in those parks.

"This case now stands for the proposition that the mere potential of recidivism, without more, is sufficient to ban former offenders from public places," the petition states. "Ultimately, therefore, the question presented is whether the Indiana Constitution can tolerate these types of restrictions."

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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