Elkhart

School district in Elkhart promises to nix live Nativity

November 1, 2016
 Associated Press
A student and parents suing a school district in Elkhart over its annual holiday pageant are still seeking a court order preventing the school from reverting to old versions of the show that contain live Nativity scenes.
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7th Circuit allows Michigan man to sue Indiana body shop for fire that destroyed his vehicle

October 12, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned summary judgment in favor of a northern Indiana body shop Wednesday after finding that a Michigan man has legal ground to sue the body shop for a fire that destroyed his car.
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City of Elkhart, Martinsville police facing lawsuits after deleting Facebook posts

October 10, 2016
Olivia Covington
After preventing local residents from commenting on their official Facebook pages, the city of Elkhart and the Martinsville Police Department are being sued for alleged violations of citizens’ First Amendment rights.
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Indiana mother faces murder charges in death of son, daughter

September 27, 2016
 Associated Press
A mother has been arrested on two counts of murder after her son and daughter were found dead in a vehicle in northern Indiana, and early Tuesday police found the body of a man who they believe was an acquaintance of the woman.
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Judge: Elkhart school's Christmas program didn't violate law

September 16, 2016
 Associated Press
A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that an Elkhart high school's Christmas program last year didn't violate constitutional prohibitions against the endorsement of religion by public entities.
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Fired Elkhart city attorney files federal suit against mayor

September 7, 2016
Dave Stafford
A female Elkhart city attorney who claims the newly elected mayor fired her because he “wanted my own guy” has filed a federal lawsuit alleging her First Amendment rights were violated. She also claims age discrimination and violation of the Equal Pay Act.
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Elkhart teacher loses age-discrimination appeal

July 25, 2016
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday rejected an appeal of an Elkhart teacher who claimed the school system discriminated against her on the basis of her race and age in denying her 12 different promotions over a span of eight years.
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Bonds of Steele

April 6, 2016
Dave Stafford
Elkhart attorney Tim Shelly revives the Waveland boyhood home of his ancestor, master Hoosier artist T.C. Steele.
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Judge cuts sentence of 4th member of Elkhart 4 to 10 years

February 12, 2016
 Associated Press
A judge has reduced to 10 years the sentence of a northern Indiana man convicted of felony murder in a home break-in after the Indiana Supreme Court threw out the murder convictions of three co-defendants.
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2 more join federal suit challenging live Nativity scene

February 9, 2016
 Associated Press
Two more parents have joined a federal lawsuit challenging a northern Indiana school district using a live Nativity scene as part of its annual Christmas show.
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Indiana man set for release after conviction is overturned

January 27, 2016
 Associated Press
A northern Indiana man who faced 50 years in prison before the Indiana Supreme Court overturned murder convictions against him and two co-defendants is set for release this week from a state prison.
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Grocery store sued by estate of woman who was fatally shot

January 15, 2016
 Associated Press
The estate of a 44-year-old woman who was fatally shot while shopping in a northern Indiana grocery store two years ago has filed a lawsuit against the store's chain.
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Elkhart-area man gets life without parole in teen's slaying

January 8, 2016
 Associated Press
A man convicted of murder for stabbing a 17-year-old girl and mutilating her body has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
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3 originally sentenced for murder face burglary sentences

January 7, 2016
 Associated Press
Three northern Indiana men sentenced to 50 or more years in prison before the Indiana Supreme Court overturned their murder convictions could be out of prison before the end of the year after being sentenced on felony burglary charges.
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South Bend attorney leaves behind strong legacy

December 21, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Attorney James Brotherson, who built a career counseling many of the largest manufacturers and suppliers in the recreational vehicle industry in northern Indiana, died Dec. 18. He was 63.
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Attorney questions if schools complied with Nativity ruling

December 15, 2015
 Associated Press
An attorney who filed a lawsuit that led to a federal judge banning a northern Indiana school district from including a live Nativity scene in its annual Christmas show says he believes the district's use of mannequins instead of student actors had many of the same constitutional flaws.
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Banned live Nativity goes on with mannequins

December 14, 2015
 Associated Press
School officials say a federal judge's injunction only applied to a live scene and that they complied with the order.
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3 men to be resentenced after Supreme Court ruling

December 9, 2015
 Associated Press
A new sentencing hearing is scheduled for three northern Indiana men whose murder convictions were thrown out by the Indiana Supreme Court.
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District will comply with court order on Christmas show

December 4, 2015
 Associated Press
A northern Indiana school district banned by a federal judge from including a live Nativity scene as part of its annual Christmas show says the show will go on without it.
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‘Elkhart Four’ ruling stands

December 2, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Supreme Court has denied the state’s petition for a rehearing in the "Elkhart Four" felony murder case.
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Judge issues $50M judgment against Elkhart environmental nuisance

November 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
Residents who live near a waste dump and wood-waste processing facility in Elkhart won a default judgment of more than $50 million against the former owners. The sum appears largely a symbolic figure, however.
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Indiana man removed from sex offender registries in 2 states

November 6, 2015
 Associated Press
A 20-year-old Indiana man sentenced to two years' probation for having consensual sex with a 14-year-old Michigan girl who lied about her age has been taken off sex offender registries in both states, and his lawyer said he is seeking to modify some terms of his probation.
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Indiana asks state's high court to rehear 'Elkhart 4' case

October 26, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
The state has asked the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to throw out murder convictions against three Elkhart men whose accomplice in a burglary was shot and killed by a homeowner.
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Indiana man sentenced to probation for sex with teenager

October 20, 2015
 Associated Press
A 20-year-old Indiana man who spent 75 days in jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for having consensual sex with a 14-year-old Michigan girl who lied about her age was resentenced Monday to two years of probation after telling the judge he has learned his lesson.
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Northern Indiana school district sued over Nativity scene

October 8, 2015
 Associated Press
A high school student and a parent are challenging the constitutionality of a live Nativity scene that's been included in a northern Indiana school district's annual Christmas show for decades.
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  1. OK so I'll make this as short as I can. I got a call that my daughter was smoking in the bathroom only her and one other girl was questioned mind you four others left before them anyways they proceeded to interrogate my daughter about smoking and all this time I nor my parents got a phone call,they proceeded to go through her belongings and also pretty much striped searched my daughter including from what my mother said they looked at her Brest without my consent. I am furious also a couple months ago my son hurt his foot and I was never called and it got worse during the day but the way some of the teachers have been treating my kids they are not comfortable going to them because they feel like they are mean or don't care. This is unacceptable in my mind i should be able to send my kids to school without worry but now I worry how the adults there are treating them. I have a lot more but I wanted to know do I have any attempt at a lawsuit because like I said there is more that's just some of what my kids are going through. Please respond. Sincerely concerned single parent

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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