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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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