Court opinions

Judges uphold drug possession conviction, reverse habitual offender enhancement

January 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who was arrested and charged with Class B felony possession of cocaine because he was within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex in Elkhart had his conviction upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday. But the judges reversed a habitual offender enhancement because the state didn’t prove that John F. Harris III had more than one dealing offense.
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Judge dismisses federal right-to-work challenge

January 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A U.S. District judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed in Hammond by a labor union challenging the state’s right-to-work law for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Chief Judge Philip P. Simon in the Northern District of Indiana did allow two counts claiming the law violates the Indiana Constitution to proceed in state court.
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COA affirms man’s conviction of intimidating Dearborn County judge

January 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Dearborn County man who posted numerous articles online about a Superior judge who presided over his divorce alleging the judge was corrupt and a child abuser had his conviction of intimidation related to the conduct upheld by the Court of Appeals Thursday. But the judges found intimidation convictions relating to a psychologist who performed the custody evaluation and the judge’s wife could not stand.
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INDOT can take Ohio County property for road improvements

January 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found Wednesday that the Indiana Department of Transportation is entitled by law to acquire a portion of an Ohio County couple’s property to improve State Road 56.
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Ruling: DOC 'indifferent' to mentally ill inmates

January 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
The opinion from the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana fits the national trend against isolation policy for these inmates.
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Property mortgagor, managers owed no duty in case of drowned girl

January 15, 2013
A trial court correctly dismissed a wrongful death case the mother of a 5-year-old girl filed against a mortgage company and other defendants after the child drowned in the pool of a house that had been abandoned.
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COA: Theft and auto theft adjudications didn’t violate single larceny rule

January 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
A teen lost an appeal challenging his adjudication as a delinquent on charges that would be theft and auto theft if committed by an adult violated the single larceny rule.
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Detailed settlement agreement not specific enough for son to claim funds

January 15, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a settlement agreement worked out between siblings included details about who would receive the comic books, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled because the document did not specifically address the accounts receivable, one of the surviving sons would not be entitled to the money.
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Plank failed to preserve claim med mal cap is unconstitutional

January 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday that Timothy Plank, who filed a medical malpractice complaint following the death of his wife in 2001, forfeited his opportunity to conduct an evidentiary hearing challenging the constitutionality of the Medical Malpractice Act.
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Borrower entitled to retrial on judgment, COA rules

January 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Steuben Circuit Court committed reversible error when it failed to admit into evidence an exhibit purporting to show that a borrower had repaid a $650,000 promissory note, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Father owes support to children conceived via artificial insemination

January 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
A father who contested a trial court order that he must pay child support for two children failed to convince the Court of Appeals that he did not consent to their conception through artificial insemination.
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COA: ‘Appalling character’ of deadbeat dad merits 10-year sentence

January 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart County father whose child support arrearage neared $57,000 lost his second appeal of a case that already has gone to the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Justices find man not required to register for life as sex offender

January 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held Thursday that based on the facts of a Lake County man’s case, a 2006 amendment requiring him to register for life as a sex offender violates the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Indiana Constitution. The amendment took effect after Andre Gonzalez fully served his sentence and during the 10-year period of his required registration.
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Judge supports denying rehearing, but disagrees with colleagues’ rationale

January 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a man’s petition for rehearing and for a rehearing en banc after the court originally upheld the seizure of thousands of dollars following a traffic stop. But one judge did write to explain that she disagreed with her fellow panel members’ rationale for originally affirming the seizure.
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Evidence supports wife entitled to protective order against husband

January 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Tippecanoe County man appealing the issuance of a protective order against him lost his case before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday. The appellate court concluded that the evidence showed his wife is a victim of domestic violence.
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Settlement without insurer’s consent is at builder’s expense

January 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals praised a homebuilder for its quick response and remedy to a couple’s discovery that their brand new home was full of backed-up sewage. But because Arbor Homes didn’t get the consent of the insurer regarding a settlement, the insurer has no obligation to pay for the cleanup.
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Texas Roadhouse fire suit among 4 justices take

January 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
A lawsuit over liability for a fire that destroyed an Indianapolis steakhouse because hydrants were frozen and unusable will proceed to the Indiana Supreme Court.
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SCOTUS to hear Indiana farmer’s case against Monsanto in February

January 7, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A patent infringement case involving a Knox County soybean farmer and an international seed producer will be argued Feb. 19 before the Supreme Court of the United States.
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Judges reinstate battery charges against drunken casino patron

January 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a Switzerland Circuit Court had no grounds to dismiss the information against a man charged with misdemeanor battery after jabbing the shoulder of a pit boss at Belterra Casino.
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Judges ‘disturbed’ by linking of drugs to defendant’s nationality

January 3, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was “disturbed” by a government agent’s improperly admitted testimony linking a defendant’s Mexican nationality to the methamphetamine at issue, the court declined to grant a new trial.
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Judge: DOC treatment of mentally ill unconstitutional

January 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
A lack of basic treatment for mentally ill Indiana Department of Correction inmates held in isolation violates the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, a federal judge ruled Monday.
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COA reverses conviction after BMV stumbles over address

January 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A driver whose conduct was “clearly blameworthy” had his conviction overturned after the Indiana Court of Appeals found the state’s evidence did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver knew his license was suspended.
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In test of 2012 emancipation law, COA affirms denial of college expenses

January 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
A statutory change in the age of emancipation for child support, except for educational support, does not preclude courts from modifying educational support obligations when parents demonstrate changes in their financial circumstances, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Traffic stop based on companion’s statement did not violate constitutional protections

January 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Police had the “reasonable suspicion” required to stop a possible impaired driver, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled, even though the driver’s companion did not specifically tell the officers the driver was intoxicated.
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Previous back problems not enough to disqualify public employee from disability benefits

January 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although an employee had a pre-existing condition, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled his on-duty injury qualified him for Class 1 impairment disability benefits from the Indiana Public Employee Retirement Fund.
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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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