ILNews

Justices ready for sex-offender registry issue

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court will consider two cases this week asking whether convicted sex offenders can be required to register for life on a statewide database.

The state's highest appeals court will hear a combined argument Thursday in Todd L. Jensen v. State, No. 02A04-0706-CR-351, and Richard P. Wallace v. State, No. 49A02-0706-CR-498. Arguments are set to begin at 9:45 a.m. and can be viewed online through a webcast.

Now, Jensen v. State and Wallace v. State have a combined case number of 02S04-0803-CR-137.

The Jensen case comes from Allen Superior Court, where in 2000 Todd L. Jensen pleaded guilty to various child-related crimes and was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. But in 2006 - two years after Jensen had been released from probation - Superior Judge Frances Gull determined he should be classified as a sexually violent predator and must register for life on the statewide registry. The Court of Appeals reversed in a December 2007 decision, finding that it violated ex post facto considerations and determining that Jensen should abide by the 10-year registration requirement.

Similar arguments are being raised in Wallace, which hails from Marion County. Richard P. Wallace pleaded guilty in 1989 to an offense against a child, served his sentence, and learned that he would have to register for life as a sex offender.

The Court of Appeals rejected Wallace's arguments and affirmed his conviction in a January ruling, finding that the requirement that he register for life didn't violate the prohibition against ex post facto laws.

This is the third time the justices are considering sex-offender related cases in the past two weeks. Justices heard arguments April 30 in J.C.C. v. State, No. 49A02-0403-JV-266, that asked whether juveniles - a 14-year-old boy in this case - can be placed on the state's sex offender registry for forcing younger boys into various sexual acts.
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  3. 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.

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