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Justices: parole conditions unenforceable, SOMM constitutional

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The Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday ordered a trial court to enjoin the Indiana Parole Board from enforcing the conditions of a man’s parole that prevent him from associating with minors. But the justices denied his request to find the Sex Offender Management and Monitoring program is unconstitutional.

In 2005, David Bleeke was convicted of residential entry and attempted criminal deviate conduct related to an adult victim. He was released from incarceration in 2008 and placed on parole until 2015. Several of his parole conditions prohibited him from having contact with any children – including his own. After a legal challenge, Bleeke may now have contact with only his children.

In David Bleeke v. Bruce Lemmon, in his capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction; Thor R. Miller, as Chairman of the Indiana Parole Board; et al., 02S05-1305-PL-364, Bleeke challenged the specific conditions restricting his access to minors as being unconstitutional, and argued that others fail to comply with certain statutory requirements. He also claimed that several of the parole statutes are facially unconstitutional in the manner by which they classify sex offenders. He also argued that the SOMM program is both facially unconstitutional and unconstitutional as applied to him.

The Court of Appeals found that Bleeke shouldn’t be considered as an offender against children based on his attempted criminal deviate conduct conviction because the statute dictating that classification is only applicable to offenses committed after July 1, 2006. It also held the SOMM program violated Bleeke’s Fifth Amendment rights. He challenged having to sign a form that allowed a polygraph examiner to share the results of his test with a probation officer.

The justices agreed that enforcement of conditions 4,5,17,19 and 20 must be enjoined because no evidence was presented that shows Bleeke is, was, or will be a threat to children – his own or otherwise.

Regarding his SOMM challenge, Justice Steven David wrote for the unanimous court, “The question before us thus becomes whether this threat to Bleeke—answer the potentially incriminating questions or face re-incarceration—so compelled (or will compel) his answers that it violates the Fifth Amendment unless he is provided immunity. ... Regardless, we agree with those other state and federal courts applying McKune (v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24(2002)), and holding that this form of disciplinary response does not constitute a ‘penalty’ such that Bleeke would have been compelled to yield his Fifth Amendment privilege.”

“And so while he was incarcerated, the State was permitted to present Bleeke—and all SOMM inmates—with a constitutionally permissible choice: participate in the SOMM program and maintain a more favorable credit status and/or privileges within the prison system or a favorable assignment in a community transition program, or refuse to participate and instead serve out the full term for which he had been lawfully convicted,” David continued.  

The case is remanded for further proceedings.
 

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

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  4. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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