Indiana Supreme Court

Justices send post-conviction case back to COA for consideration

February 2, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has vacated the dismissal of a Marion County post-conviction case and remanded it to the Court of Appeals. That was one of two cases justices took action on last week.
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Senate votes to raise judicial retirement age

January 29, 2015
Dave Stafford
Indiana appellate judges could serve until age 80 under a bill that cleared the Indiana Senate Thursday.
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Denial by justices to take prosecutorial misconduct case draws dissent

January 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Believing that the Indiana Supreme Court should have taken a case involving the “disturbing trend” of alleged prosecutorial misconduct, two justices dissented from their colleagues' decision to not accept the case.
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Supreme Court permanently bans Muncie judge

January 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
A Muncie judge who was previously suspended for 13 counts of judicial misconduct and for using racial slurs recorded on video has been given a lifetime ban from serving on the bench.
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Justices uphold convictions in second trial after partial deadlock

January 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday upheld the convictions of a man involved in a fatal drunken-driving crash. The defendant was retried on all charges after a jury convicted him on some counts and deadlocked on others.
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Rush proposes business court, makes pitch for e-filing funding

January 14, 2015
Dave Stafford
In her first State of Judiciary speech, Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush on Wednesday said the judiciary is “currently working on the development of a business court model focused on complex commercial litigation,” and urged the General Assembly to help fund the courts’ electronic filing initiative.
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Ruling extends standing in adoption cases to those with ‘lawful custody’

January 14, 2015
Dave Stafford
The sometimes-bitter litigation between a child’s adoptive parent and her grandparents who raised her from a young age yielded a decision from the state’s highest court that family law experts believe may represent a significant shift in adoption cases.
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Justices to hear appeal of man convicted in son-in-law’s stabbing

January 12, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court has added to its docket a case that split the Court of Appeals over whether allegedly inconsistent statements of a man stabbed by his father-in-law should have been admitted.
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Court properly excluded evidence regarding victim’s truthfulness

January 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The trial court was correct to exclude evidence of specific instances from a woman regarding the truthfulness of her son, the victim of a sex crime, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday. That evidence is prohibited by Indiana Evidence Rule 608.
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Civil Rights Commission exceeded authority in upholding complaint

January 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding the Indiana Civil Rights Commission overstepped its authority, the Indiana Supreme Court has vacated the organization’s final order regarding an “intra-group squabble” over a dinner menu.
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Rush’s debut State of the Judiciary address set

January 6, 2015
IL Staff
Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush will deliver her first State of the Judiciary address before a joint session of the General Assembly next week.
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Right-to-work court battle may not be over

December 31, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Despite a series of court rulings upholding Indiana’s right-to-work law, unions are not stopping their efforts to have the law overturned. Some opponents are considering petitioning for a review by the Supreme Court of the United States as well as filing another lawsuit in Indiana state court.
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Justices grant transfer to insurance, will disputes

December 23, 2014
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear the insurance dispute involving a landlord and tenant that divided the Court of Appeals earlier this year.
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Justices vacate adoption by stepdad in win for grandparents

December 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday stripped the adoption of a child by her stepfather, ruling that maternal grandparents who had been primary caregivers early in her life were wrongly denied an opportunity to consent to or contest the adoption.
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Supreme Court issues order on pretrial release

December 23, 2014
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court plans to implement an evidence-based pretrial release program in Indiana, according to an order signed by Chief Justice Loretta Rush Monday. In order to do so, a study committee will develop and implement at least one pilot project.
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Justices suspend Muncie City Court judge

December 19, 2014
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order Thursday suspending Dianna L. Bennington, the Muncie City Court judge who faces 13 counts of misconduct.
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Public intoxication statute constitutional, but ‘annoying’ man’s conviction vacated

December 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court vacated a man’s public intoxication conviction after finding his agitation does not rise to the level that would annoy a reasonable person. But the justices did find that the statute is not unconstitutionally vague.
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Supreme Court dismisses appeal in right-to-work case

December 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court dismissed a Lake County lawsuit challenging the state’s right-to-work law after the state and plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss.
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Justices find detective’s inadmissible hearsay is harmless error

December 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court reinstated a man’s conviction of being a serious violent felon in possession of a firearm after finding that a detective’s inadmissible hearsay amounts to a harmless error.
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Online Extra: Judicial Roundtable 2014

December 17, 2014
IL Staff
When Loretta Rush was named chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court in August, Indiana hit a milestone. For the first time, all of our state's appellate courts were being led by women. Indiana Lawyer recently invited Rush, Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik, Indiana Tax Judge Martha Wentworth and Chief Judge Robyn Moberly of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana's Bankruptcy Court to discuss their career paths as well as opportunities and challenges today's courts and lawyers face.
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The changing face of the judiciary

December 17, 2014
IL Staff
When Loretta Rush was named chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court in August, Indiana hit a milestone. For the first time, all of our state’s appellate courts were being led by women. Indiana Lawyer recently invited Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush, Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik, Indiana Tax Judge Martha Wentworth and Chief Judge Robyn Moberly of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s Bankruptcy Court to discuss their career paths as well as the opportunities and challenges today’s courts and lawyers face.
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COA decision in dueling-precedent case affirmed by Supreme Court

December 16, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Reviewing a conflict in precedent in state caselaw regarding child support, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the resolution reached by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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JQC asks justices to suspend Muncie City Court judge

December 15, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Muncie City Court judge hit with a disciplinary proceeding last week should be suspended from the bench, the Judicial Qualifications Commission argued in a petition submitted to the Indiana Supreme Court Monday.
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On 3-2 vote, justices deny transfer in Camp Tecumseh case

December 15, 2014
Dave Stafford
Litigation over a proposed large-scale hog farm opposed by a neighboring YMCA camp in northern Indiana won’t be reviewed by the Indiana Supreme Court. Justices decided last week in a 3-2 decision to deny transfer on the issue of where the case should be heard.
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Muncie City Court judge faces 13 counts of misconduct

December 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission has filed disciplinary charges against a Muncie City Court judge, alleging she improperly incarcerated defendants and has failed to cooperate with the commission’s investigation into her conduct, which includes verbal altercations with her children’s father.
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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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