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Justices overturn man's registration requirement

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A Grant Superior judge erred in sentencing a man to register as a sex offender because that requirement wasn't in place at the time he committed his crime, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled.

In the opinion released Wednesday, Gary M. Hevner v. State of Indiana, No. 27S02-1001-CR-5, Gary Hevner challenged the part of his sentence that required him to register as a sex offender for committing possession of child pornography as a Class D felony in 2005. This was Hevner's first offense under the statute. At the time he committed the offense, a person convicted for the first time of possessing child pornography wasn't considered a sex offender and wasn't required to register as one. But Hevner's trial began in 2008, after the Indiana Sex Offender Registration Act was amended to require anyone convicted of possession of child pornography to register, regardless of the number of convictions.

He appealed his sentence, claiming the registration requirement violated the ex post facto prohibitions of the federal and state constitutions. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed, but the justices decided the requirement violated only the Indiana Constitution because the United States Supreme Court had recently upheld Alaska's Sex Offender Registration Act didn't violate the ex post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution. Indiana and Alaska have similar acts.

Using an "intent-effects" test, the justices ruled the registration requirement was punitive in effect. The court should have sentenced Hevner under the statute in effect on the date he committed the offense, wrote Justice Robert Rucker.

"As applied to Hevner the Act violates the prohibition on ex post facto laws contained in the Indiana Constitution because it imposes burdens that have the effect of adding punishment beyond that which could have been imposed when the crime was committed," he wrote.

Hevner also challenged the condition of his probation that he can't live within 1,000 feet of a school. The high court noted the record isn't entirely clear that the trial court imposed that restriction; however, the justices concluded that condition isn't an unreasonable condition. The case was remanded for further proceedings.

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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