Lake County

Lake County sheriff, Portage mayor charged in towing-bribe schemes

November 18, 2016
Dave Stafford
Lake County Sheriff and county Democratic Party Chairman John Buncich and Portage Mayor James Snyder have been indicted on public corruption and bribery charges handed down by a grand jury.
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Woman's family sues Indiana church, pastor after drowning

November 18, 2016
 Associated Press
The family of an 18-year-old woman who drowned in a swimming pool at her pastor's home where she had been babysitting is suing the pastor and his northwest Indiana megachurch.
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FBI, Indiana troopers raid offices of Lake County sheriff

November 11, 2016
 Associated Press
The FBI and Indiana State Police raided the offices of Lake County Sheriff John Buncich and seized boxes of documents Thursday, though the target of their investigation remained unclear.
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Divided COA tosses $2M DUI crash verdict over old convictions

October 13, 2016
Dave Stafford
The majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel held Thursday that a drunken driver’s decades-old convictions for alcohol-related offenses were irrelevant and prejudicial in a civil suit following a personal-injury crash. A dissenting judge, though, wrote the admissibility of such evidence should go to its weight rather than its age.
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Lake Circuit Judge Paras resigning early

September 30, 2016
Dave Stafford
Lake Circuit Court Judge George Paras will leave the bench early after being unseated in May’s Democratic primary by Highland lawyer Marissa McDermott.
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Former Lake Station mayor, wife sentenced in gambling scheme

September 29, 2016
 Associated Press
The former mayor of Lake Station will serve four years in prison and pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines for using campaign money and city food pantry funds to gamble.
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Former Lake Station mayor admits to wiretapping employees

September 2, 2016
 Associated Press
New court records show that the former mayor of the northwest Indiana city of Lake Station admitted to recording and listening to phone calls of City Hall employees over several years starting in 2011.
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Attorneys argue Indiana death penalty unconstitutional

August 22, 2016
 Associated Press
Attorneys for a Lake County man who faces charges in the deaths of seven women have argued in court filings that the state of Indiana's death penalty law is unconstitutional.
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$25M verdict poses tough questions for COA

August 10, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Hearing arguments about a case that resulted in what may be among the largest awards for loss of consortium, the Indiana Court of Appeals repeatedly questioned what amount of damages is too much and when a jury’s decision should be overturned.
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Plaintiffs lose state court challenge to anti-conflict of interest law

July 28, 2016
IL Staff
The five northern Indiana police officers or firefighters who challenged a state law that would prohibit them from simultaneously also serving in elected office had their suit challenging the 2013 law dismissed Tuesday.
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COA hears arguments in $25M wrongful death verdict

July 27, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
In a wrongful death case argued before the Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday, the panel considered the questions of when are damages too high and when should an appellate court set aside a jury’s verdict?
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Quoting Dickens’ ‘Bleak House,’ judge decides 24-year-old lawsuit

July 14, 2016
Dave Stafford
A Lake County judge on Wednesday ordered summary judgment for defendants in a 24-year-old lawsuit he likened to the interminable Jarndyce and Jarndyce case in Charles Dickens’ novel “Bleak House.”
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Official to plead guilty to tax assessment shakedown

July 12, 2016
 Associated Press
A northwest Indiana assessor's office employee will plead guilty to allegedly shaking down businesses in exchange for reducing their tax assessments.
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Indiana councilman seeks federal probe in man’s jail death

July 11, 2016
 Associated Press
A Lake County councilman in is calling for a federal investigation into the death of a man at the county jail who had been arrested for speeding.
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Former mayor's stepdaughter gets home detention for theft

July 7, 2016
 Associated Press
A federal judge has sentenced the stepdaughter of a former northwestern Indiana mayor to six months of home detention followed by two years on probation for embezzling funds from a city court.
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Attorney wins $9.5M for family of man who died in rehab hospital

June 21, 2016
Scott Roberts
An Indiana attorney has won what he claims is a record amount from a wrongful death lawsuit as a Lake County jury Friday awarded the family of a man who died in a rehabilitation hospital $9.5 million.
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COA: Notice of sale was mailed within required time period

June 14, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals found notice of a tax sale was mailed 21 days before the sale took place as prescribed by Indiana Code, so it affirmed the denial of a man’s motion to set aside tax deeds on property he used to own.
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Indiana State Police to investigate missing court records

June 2, 2016
 Associated Press
Indiana State Police plans to investigate why Lake Station City Court failed to report license restrictions to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, according to an official with the agency.
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Darryl Pinkins’ freedom a long, emotional battle for IU professor, students

June 1, 2016
Dave Stafford
Darryl Pinkins walked out of prison a free man in April after almost 25 years, exonerated in a heinous 1989 rape by advances in DNA forensics. But before the science could free him, Pinkins needed someone to believe in his innocence.
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Attorneys for death row inmate seek more time for appeal

May 24, 2016
 Associated Press
Attorneys for a Gary man sentenced to death for killing his wife and two teenage stepchildren have asked a magistrate to give him more time to sign a document needed for the case to be reviewed.
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Lake County investigating unreported driving suspensions

May 19, 2016
 Associated Press
Prosecutors in northwest Indiana are investigating whether a former Lake Station city clerk intentionally failed to send convictions in drunken driving cases to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
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Teen courts across northwest Indiana dole out justice

May 18, 2016
 Associated Press
The Teen Court program in Lake County, along with others in northwest Indiana, gives teens an alternative to the traditional trajectory of juvenile justice. The program uses a novel approach in which a jury of teens decides the punishment for peers who are diverted from the juvenile justice system.
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Chicago man sues over fatal plunge at destroyed Indiana span

May 12, 2016
 Associated Press
A Chicago man whose wife died when he drove off a road leading to a demolished northwestern Indiana bridge claims in a lawsuit that not enough was done to block the roadway.
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Supreme Court: Consolidating precincts is not unconstitutional

March 22, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled an effort to consolidate small Lake County precincts to reduce election costs was not unconstitutional, finding it is neither an impermissible special law nor a violation of the separation of powers doctrine.
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Long-running case over subdivision plan decided

March 18, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided a case that dragged on in the federal court system for nine years Thursday.
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  1. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

  2. A high ranking bureaucrat with Ind sup court is heading up an organization celebrating the formal N word!!! She must resign and denounce! http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

  3. ND2019, don't try to confuse the Left with facts. Their ideologies trump facts, trump due process, trump court rules, even trump federal statutes. I hold the proof if interested. Facts matter only to those who are not on an agenda-first mission.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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