Election

Suit aims to strike down law barring vote by committed mentally ill

February 25, 2016
Dave Stafford
A proposed class-action lawsuit naming state election officials and the clerk of Jefferson County argues a 1995 state law preventing people committed to a state hospital from voting in local elections is unconstitutional.
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GOP state senator enters race for Indiana attorney general

February 9, 2016
 Associated Press
A Republican state senator from Logansport says he will seek the Republican nomination for state attorney general.
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Prosecutor won't pursue case against state lawmaker

January 25, 2016
 Associated Press
A special prosecutor says he will not pursue a criminal case against state Rep. Michael Aylesworth over allegations that he was inside a polling station illegally during election day in November 2014.
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Loser of tied southern Indiana mayor's race won't appeal

January 25, 2016
 Associated Press
The loser of a southern Indiana mayor's race decided by a single vote has decided not to appeal a recount.
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5 officials want judge to block Indiana conflicts law

December 16, 2015
 Associated Press
Five municipal employees in northwestern Indiana are asking a state court judge to block a law that prohibits them from holding elected office in the same city or town.
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‘1 person, 1 vote’ case divides US Supreme Court

December 8, 2015
 Bloomberg News
A divided U.S. Supreme Court grappled with the meaning of the “one person, one vote” principle, hearing arguments in a case that might transform the way legislative maps are drawn and reduce Hispanic clout in elections.
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City workers lose challenge to law, must quit to take office

December 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
Five Lake County civil servants lost their lawsuit challenging a state law that forbids them from serving in elected office in the same city that employs them.
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SCOTUS to hear law student's redistricting case

November 3, 2015
 Associated Press
Two things set first-year law student Stephen Shapiro apart from his classmates at American University in Washington. At 55, he’s old enough to be a father to most of his classmates. And on Wednesday, a lawsuit he filed will be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.
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Judge bars Indiana from enforcing ballot 'selfies' law

October 20, 2015
 Associated Press
A federal judge Monday barred Indiana from enforcing a new law that prohibits voters from taking photos of their election ballots and sharing the images on social media.
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Ex-Secretary of State Charlie White begins serving home detention

October 6, 2015
 Associated Press
Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White has started serving his one-year sentence of home detention more than 3½ years after being convicted of perjury and other charges that forced him from office.
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7th Circuit tosses slating system for Indy judges

September 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
Now that Indianapolis’ pay-to-play slating system that evenly divvied judgeships between Democrats and Republicans has been ruled unconstitutional, it’s up to the General Assembly to figure out how Marion County should select its judges.
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7th Circuit: Marion County judge elections unconstitutional

September 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
The way Marion County judges are elected is unconstitutional, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday, throwing out a system that assured an even split of Democratic and Republican judges and facilitated a pay-to-play party slating system.
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7th Circuit: Marion County judicial elections unconstitutional

September 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
The way Marion County judges are elected is unconstitutional, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday, throwing out a 40-year-old system that ensured an even split of Democratic and Republican judges and facilitated a pay-to-play party slating system.
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ACLU of Indiana challenges state law banning ballot photos

August 28, 2015
 Associated Press
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is challenging a new state law that prohibits voters from photographing their ballots and sharing those images on social media.
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Former state senator is final appointment to redistricting committee

August 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Former Indiana senator and environmental leader Beverly Gard has been appointed to the state’s redistricting study committee, completing the selection process by the legislative leaders.
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Justice Boehm gets nod for special redistricting commission

August 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm has been given a seat on the special committee set to examine gerrymandering, a common political manipulation that he once called toxic.
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Former Lake County judge eyeing AG nomination

August 18, 2015
 Associated Press
A former Lake County judge has formed a campaign committee to seek the Democratic nomination for Indiana attorney general.
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7th Circuit overturns some Blagojevich Senate-seat convictions

July 22, 2015
 Associated Press
A federal appeals court Tuesday overturned some of the most sensational convictions that sent former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to a lengthy stint in prison, ruling that the Democrat did not break the law when he sought to secure a Cabinet position in President Barack Obama’s administration in exchange for appointing an Obama adviser to the president’s former U.S. Senate seat.
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Indiana AG Zoeller enters congressional race

July 20, 2015
 Associated Press
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is looking for a return to Washington by seeking the congressional seat that Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Young is giving up to run for the U.S. Senate next year.
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Court ruling spurs backers' hopes for redistricting changes

June 30, 2015
 Associated Press
Groups trying to curb the partisan sculpting of U.S. House of Representative districts are hoping their Supreme Court of the United States victory will prompt more states to create independent commissions to redraw congressional lines.
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Justices uphold Arizona’s system for redistricting

June 29, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday upheld Arizona congressional districts drawn by an independent commission and rejected a constitutional challenge from Republican lawmakers.
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SCOTUS to consider appeal over electoral districts

May 26, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States agreed Tuesday to hear an important case about whether states must count only those who are eligible to vote, rather than the total population, when drawing electoral districts for their legislatures.
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Madison Co. prosecutor asked to look into primary ballots

April 24, 2015
 Associated Press
Election officials in a central Indiana county are asking authorities investigate ballots cast in its upcoming Democratic Party primary election.
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Proposed Indiana voting law changes draw objections

February 9, 2015
 Associated Press
Indiana lawmakers are taking up Republican-backed proposals to eliminate straight party-line voting on state ballots and require the use of voter identification numbers for mail-in absentee ballots, moves that Democrats argue will make voting more difficult and could hurt turnout.
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COA finds double-jeopardy violations in conviction of former secretary of state

December 29, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White, convicted of voter fraud and removed from office, had three of his six convictions overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals Dec. 29 and will have to serve his sentence of one year of electronic home monitoring.
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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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