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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. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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