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Sovereign citizens disavow legal system, make bogus filings aimed at police, judges

January 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
Martin Jonassen describes himself as a sovereign citizen, one of a loose affiliation of people who believe most laws don’t apply to them. Adherents also strive to make life difficult and sometimes dangerous for law enforcement and the judiciary, and Indiana lawmakers have taken notice.
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U.S. Supreme Court decision ignited grassroots effort to amend the Constitution

January 30, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In the fight over corporate influence in politics, one group is hoping the voice of the people can trump the allure of money.
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Bales defense: Elkhart deal was a 'scheme to help'

January 29, 2013
Cory Schouten
Facing a looming deadline to find suitable office space for the state Department of Child Services and the prospect that abused or neglected children in Elkhart County could go without services, real estate broker John M. Bales and partner Bill Spencer in 2008 dipped into their own pockets to help close a difficult lease deal, their defense attorneys contend.
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Lawmakers amend bill to restrict sex offenders’ access to social media

January 29, 2013
IL Staff
In response to a ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, two Indiana lawmakers have introduced a proposal restricting sex offenders from using social media sites.
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Statute’s language gives courts discretion when reviewing petitions to reduce Class D felony to a misdemeanor

January 29, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A Hancock County man will not have his felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the state statute gives the courts the freedom to decide whether to grant or deny a petition.
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COA reversal of truck forfeiture allows movie fan to drive off into the sunset

January 29, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In a reversal of a trial court’s ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a man who pleaded guilty to selling pirated movies should not have had his truck taken by the state because violating copyright is not the same as stealing goods
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Finalists selected for St. Joseph Court

January 29, 2013
IL Staff
Two attorneys in private practice and three public servants are finalists for an upcoming vacancy in St. Joseph Superior Court.
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Judges’ ruling in email records case defers to public access counselor

January 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
A request for the email records of public officials that simply asks for emails to or from officials over a certain period of time doesn’t satisfy the Access to Public Records Act, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Fraud trial for broker Bales begins in South Bend

January 28, 2013
Cory Schouten
The federal fraud trial of Indianapolis real estate broker John M. Bales and a partner began Monday morning in South Bend with a jury-selection process that may not have run as smoothly if it took place in central Indiana.
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State may drop Bei Bei Shuai murder charge after adverse ruling

January 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
A judge’s ruling last week barring a medical examiner’s testimony that rat poison ingested by Bei Bei Shuai caused the death of her newborn daughter should cause the state to consider dropping all charges, Shuai’s defense attorney said.
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Marion County Clerk offering sweethearts a chance to say ‘I do’ to a healthy cause

January 28, 2013
IL Staff
While giving your heart to your Valentine, you can also help keep other hearts healthy.
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Laptops, tablets now allowed in Indiana Supreme Court

January 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
You now may use a laptop, iPad, and other tablets or computing devices inside oral arguments at the Indiana Supreme Court, so long as you get permission first, sit in the back row and keep it quiet.
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Dropped charges in habitual offender sentence distinguish conflicting rulings

January 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A defendant who benefited when charges against him were dropped in exchange for a guilty plea is not entitled to relief under a subsequent Supreme Court ruling weighing the same set of charges, a panel of the Court of Appeals ruled Friday. Judges also drew distinctions with a conflicting COA opinion.
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Conour fraud trial set for September

January 25, 2013
Scott Olson
A federal judge Friday morning set a new trial date of Sept. 9 for an Indianapolis high-profile lawyer accused of misappropriating millions in client funds.
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COA rules minors must be active participants to meet statute’s definition of ‘child exploitation’

January 25, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A man who secretly photographed minor girls in their underwear is not guilty of child exploitation because those girls were not intentionally exhibiting themselves, a divided Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Teen father not deprived by lack of guardian ad litem in termination judgment

January 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A 15-year-old who fathered a child was not deprived due process because a guardian ad litem wasn’t appointed for him during proceedings in which his parental rights were terminated.
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13 interviewing for St. Joseph judicial vacancy

January 25, 2013
IL Staff
Thirteen candidates for a judgeship in South Bend are being interviewed Friday by the St. Joseph County Judicial Nominating Commission. The panel this evening will narrow the field of candidates to fill a St. Joseph Superior Court vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Roland W. Chamblee Jr.
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Justices remand burglary sentence for new hearing on restitution order

January 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A divided Indiana Supreme Court ordered a new hearing for a man convicted of burglary whose restitution order had been thrown out by the Court of Appeals because of insufficient evidence to support the amount of the award.
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COA rules in favor of grandchildren in will dispute

January 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to interpret a handwritten will from 1917 in a dispute among those who stood to inherit land in Benton County. The appellate court determined that the trial court properly ruled that John and Karen LeFebre could collectively receive a one-third share in the acreage.
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Attempted child molestation conviction does not lead to credit restricted status

January 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the determination that an Elkhart County man was a credit restricted felon following his conviction of attempted molestation of his daughter, finding attempted child molestation isn’t included among offenses that qualify under the credit restricted felon statute.
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Rule of lenity doesn’t apply on man’s escape conviction

January 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The rule of lenity doesn’t apply to the case of a Marion County man who tried to break into a home while serving home detention as a condition of probation, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded. The judges upheld Diano Gordon’s convictions of Class D felonies escape and attempted residential entry.
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State of Judiciary will air on PBS around state

January 24, 2013
IL Staff
If you missed Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson’s first State of the Judiciary Wednesday, you can watch it on your local PBS station, beginning Thursday evening. Several radio stations will also broadcast the speech.
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Dickson makes pitch for Odyssey funding

January 23, 2013
Dave Stafford
Procuring money to expand the Odyssey case management system is “one of our most urgent priorities,” Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson told the General Assembly on Wednesday in his first State of the Judiciary address.
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Man wins appeal of case against Indiana Parole Board

January 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Several conditions of a man’s parole following his conviction of criminal deviate conduct involving an adult – including prohibitions on spending time with his own children – were found to be overbroad or vague by the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday. The judges reversed the grant of partial summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Parole Board and other defendants on David Bleeke’s complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief.
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Lawmakers discuss same-sex marriage and criminal code revisions at IU McKinney Law School

January 23, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Two Republican lawmakers are backing off support for holding a second vote on the same-sex marriage amendment, advocating the Legislature take a wait-and-see approach.
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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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