Court opinions

Burglary of deceased’s home still Class B felony, COA holds

April 28, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man who burglarized a house in Huntington after the occupant had recently died was rightly denied his petition for post-conviction relief based on his argument that the house was no longer a dwelling, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Supreme Court defines marriage relatives

April 28, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court determined the sister of a man who was once married to the defendant’s aunt is not a family or household member and changed a man’s Level 6 felony charge to Class A misdemeanor battery.
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Justices: Murderer should be able to file belated notice of appeal

April 27, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a per curiam decision a man who pleaded guilty to two counts of murder among other charges can file a belated notice of appeal after the justices found “unique circumstances” in his case that did not allow him to file an appeal of his sentence when it was decided in 1987.
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Woman entitled to inherit estate, judges affirm

April 27, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a woman was the sole heir of an estate as the only daughter, finding there was sufficient evidence for the claim and denying the deceased man’s sisters’ request for a DNA test.
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Appellate court defines rules of police stops

April 27, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a man’s tendered jury instruction was a mistake of law and not a mistake of fact and upheld his conviction of felony resisting law enforcement by fleeing. The judges then outlined what fleeing law enforcement means and what rights police officers and drivers have to determine location of stops.
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Man who was visiting friend not subject to illegal search

April 27, 2016
Scott Roberts
A man who was visiting a friend when police found him in possession of a handgun was not a victim of an illegal search, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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COA: Trainer who had license suspended denied due process

April 27, 2016
Scott Roberts
A woman was denied due process after she had her athletic trainers’ license suspended for having a sexual relationship with one of her clients, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. Even though she did not attend her hearing, her attorney did and the complaint she filed should not have been dismissed.
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7th Circuit affirms COA sentence in split decision

April 27, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a split decision the Indiana Court of Appeals did not make any error in federal law when it upheld a man’s consecutive 40-year sentences for three convictions of child molestation.
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Justices reinstate termination order COA reversed

April 26, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday affirmed a trial court order terminating parental rights to twin girls who were removed from the home in 2011 at age 8. A divided Court of Appeals previously reversed the trial court, finding insufficient evidence to merit termination.
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COA: Video testimony from protected person allowed at trial

April 26, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s Level 5 felony battery conviction despite admission of a videotaped interview from a protected person into evidence and allowing three people to testify about their interactions with that protected person.
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COA affirms denial of rescission of lifetime license ban

April 26, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals to restore his driving privileges after a trial court rejected his petition for rescission of a lifetime suspension.
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COA: Jury replay of 911 call within court’s discretion

April 26, 2016
Dave Stafford
A trial court was within its discretion to allow a jury to rehear a recording of a 911 call during deliberations, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in affirming a man’s convictions of intimidation and theft.
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Supreme Court upholds felony dealing conviction

April 26, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed a man's conviction for Class A felony dealing in a narcotic drug within 1,000 feet of school property and being a habitual substance offender. The decision went against the Indiana Court of Appeals, which overturned his conviction based on lack of evidence.
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7th Circuit: Woman who lost case still entitled to attorney fees

April 26, 2016
Scott Roberts
A plaintiff who lost a breach of contract and negligence suit is entitled to attorney fees in the case after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that said the company she sued engaged in “obstreperous discovery behavior.”
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7th Circuit reverses ruling in favor of prison guard

April 26, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a District Court decision that dismissed a prisoner’s First Amendment claims and granted immunity to the guard mentioned in his Eighth Amendment claims.
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Iran summons Swiss ambassador over US Supreme Court ruling

April 26, 2016
 Associated Press
The Iranian foreign ministry has summoned Switzerland's ambassador to Tehran over a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court against Iran, state TV reported Tuesday.
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Supreme Court clarifies employment discrimination case

April 25, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court clarified an employment discrimination case Friday afternoon in one of the last opinions written by retiring Justice Brent Dickson. The decision explained when summary judgment should be used and what courts should be looking for when deciding such cases, ultimately affirming the Court of Appeals.
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COA: Federal statute supersedes state one

April 22, 2016
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a federal statute supersedes a state one regarding the time period in which to sue and thus reversed a decision from the trial court which denied a company’s motion to dismiss a claim against it for breach of contract.
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COA: Time expired in bringing criminal trial

April 22, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s felony and misdemeanor charges after it found the state did not bring him to trial within a 365-day time period.
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Justices find man did not waive his right to jury trial

April 21, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court reversed and remanded a man’s conviction for Class D felony domestic battery after it found his silence did not constitute a waiver to right of trial by jury.
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Sued company should get attorney fees, COA rules

April 21, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a company that dropped a lawsuit against another for breach of warranty must still pay attorney fees of the company they sued.
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COA majority: Conditional language is still a threat

April 21, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s conviction for Class A misdemeanor intimidation in a 2-1 decision after it found the conditional language he used in the threat placed his victim in danger of retaliation for a lawful act.
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COA: Man’s habeas petition should be dismissed

April 20, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals remanded a man’s petition for habeas corpus and ordered the trial court to dismiss his claims after the judges said he improperly filed his petition without permission from the court.
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7th Circuit: Prisoner denied due process

April 20, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a prisoner could not defend the possession of heroin charge against him and thus remanded his case for rehearing.
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Supreme Court declines to rule on legislative emails case

April 19, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed dismissal of a case where the Energy and Policy Institute requested copies of correspondences from state Rep. Eric Koch under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act. The court said while APRA can be applied to the General Assembly, the specific issue of whether Koch’s emails are exempt from disclosure in this case under the work product exemption is non-justiciable.
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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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