Regional News

Federal judge upholds Evansville man's death sentence

April 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in Indianapolis has upheld the death sentence of a condemned man who killed his wife and two young children in Evansville a decade ago.
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Appellate court affirms arbitration on claims against college

March 29, 2011
Michael Hoskins
With one judge frustrated that Indiana residents and students may have been “hornswoggled” by a college’s advertisements about being accredited, the Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld an order compelling arbitration on a claim that three students were fraudulently induced to enroll because of misrepresentation about that accreditation.
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AG files criminal UPL, tax evasion charges against ‘notario publico’

March 25, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Adding to what it has already done in targeting two “notario publicos” for illegally offering immigration services, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office has now filed a criminal Unauthorized Practice of Law charge and several tax evasion counts against one of those non-lawyers who was operating in Indianapolis.
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Misdemeanant challenges voting lockout

March 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
When a former town council member in northern Indiana was sentenced to county jail for two months on a misdemeanor battery conviction, he didn’t realize that experience would take away his right to vote.
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President shares MCBA goals

March 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Minority bar associations continue to benefit the Indiana legal community by offering diverse perspectives. Members benefit from networking opportunities, and the bars help to maintain a positive professional presence in the communities they serve.
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Encouraging diversity in CASA programs

March 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Having volunteers and staff who can relate to families that interact with Court Appointed Special Advocates programs has proven invaluable to a number of county-level CASA programs in Indiana. Indianapolis-based Child Advocates Inc. received the National CASA Inclusion Award for its inclusion and diversity plan March 20 at the National CASA conference in Chicago.
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New Southern District magistrate named

March 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
An Indianapolis employment law attorney has been chosen as the newest U.S. magistrate judge for the Southern District of Indiana.
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AG wants trustee for casino revenue

March 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Two days of court mediation are scheduled in mid-April for the long-running litigation concerning East Chicago casino revenue and economic development agreements, but the Indiana attorney general wants the city council to consider setting up a trusteeship for the millions of dollars generated through those agreements.
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Bar Crawl - March 16, 2011

March 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger, IL Staff
The Evansville Bar Association will celebrate Law Day 2011 in late April. On April 28, mock trials and a student lunch will take place; Applications for an October 2011 to October 2013 term on the Indiana State Bar Association board of governors are due April 1.
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7th Circuit takes girls' basketball schedule case

March 11, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will decide whether several Indiana school corporations discriminate against girls’ basketball teams by scheduling more of their games on weeknights as compared to the boys’ basketball games.
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Attorney general files 'notario publico' civil suits

March 10, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office filed a pair of civil consumer deception lawsuits Wednesday against two non-attorneys for offering immigration services that constitute the unauthorized practice of law.
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Comment sought on reappointment of magistrate judge

March 10, 2011
IL Staff
Members of the bar and the public are invited to comment as to whether United States Magistrate Judge Michael G. Naville of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, should be reappointed to a new four-year term.
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COA: Admission of prior convictions fundamental error

March 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a sex offender convicted of failing to register while having a prior conviction. The court ruled the evidence regarding his prior convictions for failing to register shouldn’t have been admitted at trial.
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Johnson County Historical Society gets legal history grant

March 7, 2011
IL Staff
The Johnson County Historical Society has been awarded an Indiana Legal History Grant by the Indiana Humanities Council and the Indiana Supreme Court, the council announced today. The $2,000 award will fund projects and research to increase the understanding of the legal history of the county among those served by the county courts.
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Judges visit Jeffersonville for arguments

March 7, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals travels to southern Indiana Wednesday to hear arguments in a case involving credit time.
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Court weighs needs when timing judicial suspensions

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
When deciding that a judge must be suspended and determining when that time off the bench should be, decision-makers must maintain a delicate balance.
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Lawyer commits to pro bono

March 2, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The aspirational pro bono goal for attorneys, set by the American Bar Association and endorsed – but not forced – by many states, is around 50 hours. Some Indiana attorneys work this into their annual budget by working with pro bono district plan administrators to accept cases when need exists and when they can easily fit them into their work schedules.
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Prosecution raises awareness of human trafficking

March 2, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
When it comes to human trafficking, most people who are unfamiliar with the crime visualize one person holding another hostage and giving them limited contact with the rest of the world. Some envision a basement in a dungeon-like setting with chains or other restraining devices, say advocates for victims of human trafficking.
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Attorney called to serve

March 2, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
As an attorney who was being deployed by the U.S. Navy Reserve to serve his country, there was no question that he would go. The support received from his firm for the year he was away made the experience manageable.
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Change sought for 3rd murder trial

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Defense attorneys for former Indiana State Police trooper David Camm have asked the state’s intermediate appellate court to accept an interlocutory appeal and decide whether a special judge should have appointed a new prosecutor to preside over the man’s third trial.
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COA adopts common-sense rule on providing insurance policies

March 1, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has adopted a common-sense rule many other courts throughout the country have implemented, in requiring insurers to provide copies of their insurance policies to the insured if they ask for one following a loss.
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First impression case tackles wetlands issue

February 28, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a landowner who raises the subterranean water table on his land and creates a federally regulated wetland may not invoke the common enemy doctrine of water diversion and be shielded from liability to adjoining landowners whose properties as a result become federally regulated wetlands.
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Governor appoints 3 judges

February 28, 2011
IL Staff
Gov. Mitch Daniels made three judicial appointments, filling vacancies in Howard, Jay, and Wells county courts.
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Justices accept certified question on misdemeanor voting

February 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has taken a question proposed by a federal court in a suit challenging the law that prevents voting by people with misdemeanor convictions.
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Race for LACE to benefit Kenya legal aid clinic

February 23, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Following the success of last year’s Race for LACE to support the Legal Aid Centre of Eldoret, Kenya, organizers are seeking participants for this year’s event that coincides with the 5K race held with the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 7.
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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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