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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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  3. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  4. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  5. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

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