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Justices reverse juvenile placement on sex offender registry

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A juvenile who pleaded guilty to what would have been Class D felony sexual battery if committed by an adult should not have been placed on the sex offender registry, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Justices reversed and remanded the order of a Lawrence Circuit Court judge, holding that the order was neither issued in connection with an evidentiary hearing nor accompanied by findings. In N.L. v. State of Indiana, 47S01-1302-JV-126, Justice Loretta Rush set out the requirements for ordering juveniles to be included in the registry.

“It is well within a trial court’s discretion to hold more than one hearing to determine whether a juvenile’s risk of reoffending warrants placing them on the sex offender registry,” Rush wrote for the court. “But when it does so, every hearing held for that purpose must be an ‘evidentiary hearing’” defined by J.C.C. v. State, 897 N.E.2d 931, 935 (Ind. 2008).

“Juveniles must have the opportunity to challenge the State’s evidence and present evidence of their own; and if an ‘evidentiary hearing’ is continued, they must have continued representation by counsel at the subsequent hearings as well. Finally, the child may not be ordered to register unless the trial court expressly finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the child is likely to commit another sex offense — based exclusively on evidence received at such a hearing,” Rush wrote. “Here, the May hearing was not an ‘evidentiary hearing’ as J.C.C. requires; N.L. did not have the benefit of counsel in May, even though he did for the February hearing; and the trial court made no findings about N.L.’s likelihood to reoffend.
 
“We therefore reverse the order requiring N.L. to register as a sex offender, and remand to the trial court with instructions to conduct a new ‘evidentiary hearing’ as J.C.C. requires to determine whether N.L. is likely to commit another sex offense, and thereafter to make an express finding of whether the State has made that showing by clear and convincing evidence.”

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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