U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

2 more join federal suit challenging live Nativity scene

February 9, 2016
 Associated Press
Two more parents have joined a federal lawsuit challenging a northern Indiana school district using a live Nativity scene as part of its annual Christmas show.
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Donnelly hopeful Indiana’s federal court vacancies will be filled soon

December 30, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
With U.S. District Judge Robert Miller Jr. preparing to take senior status in January, Indiana will have three judicial vacancies to fill on the federal bench.
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Retiring federal Judge Robert Miller Jr. praised for legal analysis and temperament

December 30, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
With the exception of the year Judge Robert Miller Jr. spent clerking for the late U.S. District Judge Robert Grant, he has spent his entire working life wielding a gavel. He served for 11 years in St. Joseph Superior Court before his appointment to the federal bench.
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2 recent cases in federal court showcase trademark treachery

December 16, 2015
Dave Stafford
A steel giant’s trade name was used to misrepresent business deals with the intent to procure millions of dollars worth of machinery and financing, and an Amish-country spice maker alleges a local rival is ripping off its registered trademark. These two recent cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana illustrate the difficulties in policing registered marks on intellectual property, but the cases also show the means of recovery at rights holders’ disposal when their IP marks are violated.
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Attorney questions if schools complied with Nativity ruling

December 15, 2015
 Associated Press
An attorney who filed a lawsuit that led to a federal judge banning a northern Indiana school district from including a live Nativity scene in its annual Christmas show says he believes the district's use of mannequins instead of student actors had many of the same constitutional flaws.
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Banned live Nativity goes on with mannequins

December 14, 2015
 Associated Press
School officials say a federal judge's injunction only applied to a live scene and that they complied with the order.
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City workers lose challenge to law, must quit to take office

December 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
Five Lake County civil servants lost their lawsuit challenging a state law that forbids them from serving in elected office in the same city that employs them.
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District will comply with court order on Christmas show

December 4, 2015
 Associated Press
A northern Indiana school district banned by a federal judge from including a live Nativity scene as part of its annual Christmas show says the show will go on without it.
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Judge grants preliminary injunction banning Nativity scene

December 2, 2015
 Associated Press
A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction banning a northern Indiana school district from including a live Nativity scene as part of its annual Christmas show.
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Judge: Nativity lawsuit plaintiffs can remain anonymous

December 1, 2015
 Associated Press
A federal judge has ruled that a high school student and a parent can remain anonymous as they sue over a live Nativity scene that’s part of a northern Indiana school district’s annual Christmas show.
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Judge issues $50M judgment against Elkhart environmental nuisance

November 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
Residents who live near a waste dump and wood-waste processing facility in Elkhart won a default judgment of more than $50 million against the former owners. The sum appears largely a symbolic figure, however.
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Teacher, diocese file motions to dismiss discrimination suit

November 11, 2015
 Associated Press
Both the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and a former teacher who was fired after undergoing in vitro fertilization treatments have filed motions to dismiss a lawsuit.
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New judge assigned to 2nd trial of former Lake Station mayor

October 9, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge accused of falling asleep during the trial of the former Lake Station mayor and his wife has recused himself from a second trial involving them.
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Northern Indiana school district sued over Nativity scene

October 8, 2015
 Associated Press
A high school student and a parent are challenging the constitutionality of a live Nativity scene that's been included in a northern Indiana school district's annual Christmas show for decades.
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Federal jury rules against DCS, awards family $31.3 million

October 7, 2015
Dave Stafford
The family of a 14-year-old Pulaski County girl who died as a result of prescription error has been awarded $31.3 million in a judgment against state agents who wrongly removed the couple’s children from their home and prosecuted the parents for their daughter’s death.
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Ex-Lake Station mayor wants delay in 2nd criminal trial

September 29, 2015
 Associated Press
The former mayor of Lake Station and his wife have asked for a delay in their second criminal trial and for a federal judge to recuse himself.
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Gary airport tenant sues airport authority, private operator

September 28, 2015
 Associated Press
A tenant at the Gary/Chicago International Airport is suing the airport authority and its private operator, alleging that they "unilaterally" quadrupled its rent.
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Firefighter allegedly targeted with noose sues ex-official

July 2, 2015
 Associated Press
A black Marion firefighter whose wife belongs to the family of a lynching victim has filed a federal lawsuit against an assistant fire chief who allegedly tied a rope into a noose.
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Indiana federal wiretaps plunge in 2014

July 1, 2015
Dave Stafford
Wiretaps authorized by federal judges in Indiana fell by 70 percent in 2014, according to court statistics released Wednesday.
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Judge slams city with default sanction in wrongful arrest case

June 17, 2015
Dave Stafford
A federal judge threw the gavel at the city of Gary for ignoring court orders to respond to discovery in a social worker’s wrongful arrest suit against the city, Gary Community School Corp, and two Gary police officers who worked for the schools.
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Certified question regarding Patient’s Compensation Fund dismissed

May 21, 2015
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has dismissed as moot a certified question sent to it from the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Indiana regarding a claim the Patient’s Compensation Fund sought to pursue against an insurer.
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Indiana senator calls for judicial nominating commission

May 13, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Sen. Dan Coats is calling for the appointment of a commission to assist in finding and nominating candidates for the vacancies on the federal bench.  
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Court seeks comment on reappointment of federal magistrate

May 8, 2015
IL Staff
The U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Indiana wants to hear from the bar and public as to whether a current magistrate judge should be recommended for reappointment.
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Ex-Valpo attorney pleads guilty to wire fraud, money laundering

April 24, 2015
Dave Stafford
Former Valparaiso lawyer Clark Holesinger will plead guilty to federal wire fraud and money-laundering charges accusing him of stealing $2 million, according to an information announced Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
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Judge OKs $725K settlement against Whitley County sheriff

March 27, 2015
Dave Stafford
Defendants jailed in Whitley County more than 48 hours without a probable cause hearing in violation of U.S. Supreme Court caselaw will share a $725,000 settlement, a federal judge ruled.
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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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