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7th Circuit: Gay marriage bans in Indiana, Wisconsin unconstitutional

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed federal court rulings in Indiana and Wisconsin invalidating the states’ prohibitions of same-sex marriage.
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COA splits on reversal of child molesting conviction

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Thursday over whether a man’s Class A felony child molesting conviction should be overturned. The dissenting judge believed any error by the trial court was harmless, so the conviction should stand.
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COA re-evaluates public intox opinion in light of Thang, but still affirms

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Supreme Court decision regarding public intoxication has impacted a decision issued by the Court of Appeals three weeks earlier, but the judges still concluded a woman’s public intoxication conviction cannot stand.
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Defendant loses on ineffective counsel claim

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant did not show that he was denied the effective assistance of appellate counsel, so the court correctly denied his petition for post-conviction relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Man cannot collect uninsured motorist coverage after accident on motorcycle

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle cannot collect under his insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The judges rejected his claim that the exclusion of motorcycles violates public policy.
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Judge: Inevitable discovery rule could apply under state constitution

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals unanimously reversed a man’s convictions stemming from his alleged use of a stolen credit card at a gas station in Hancock County. But the judges on the panel didn’t agree whether the state’s argument of inevitable discovery is allowed under the Indiana Constitution.
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Justices order in camera review of report to determine if material is privileged

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court tackled two issues of first impression Wednesday in a dispute involving a family business and claims the company president caused a significant decrease in shareholder value.
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Court affirms bank lacks standing to appeal termination of trusts

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals that a bank’s appeal of the termination of two of its trusts must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The bank, as trustee, lacked standing to appeal in its representative capacity and did not appeal in its individual capacity.
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Justices hear constitutional challenge to right-to-work law

September 4, 2014
Dave Stafford
Indiana’s right-to-work statute is clearly anti-union, one state Supreme Court justice said Thursday, but all five justices seemed dubious of arguments that it violated the state constitution.
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Feds reach settlement for East Chicago cleanup

September 4, 2014
 Associated Press
The federal government has reached a proposed settlement under which two companies will pay for an estimated $26 million cleanup of lead and arsenic contamination in an East Chicago neighborhood.
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Justices take first impression insurance case

September 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted three cases on transfer, including one that divided the Court of Appeals regarding a jury award to the widow of a motorcyclist injured in a crash.
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Ex-deputy prosecutor Wyser resigns from bar

September 3, 2014
Dave Stafford
Former Marion County deputy prosecutor David Wyser has resigned from the practice of law rather than face proceedings by the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.
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Justices reverse conviction and sentence enhancement related to handgun

September 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a man’s firearm enhancement is based on the same behavior used to convict and sentence him for carrying a handgun without a permit, the Indiana Supreme Court vacated the conviction and five-year enhancement.
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COA sets aside auction of mobile homes

September 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the sale of several mobile homes through an auction in Hendricks County after finding the buyer did not comply with statutory requirements regarding timelines for conducting an auction.
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Court upholds 3-year sentence for assault on girlfriend

September 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s claim that his decision to waive his right to a jury trial deserves some mitigating consideration when sentencing him. The judges affirmed Timothy McSchooler’s three-year prison sentence for strangling his girlfriend.
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State can exclude fuel ethanol plants from ‘chemical process plant’ classification

September 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed the decision by state environmental agencies to no longer consider fuel ethanol plants to be a “chemical process plant” under the Clean Air Act. By removing fuel ethanol plants from this classification, those plants may not be subject to stricter regulations.
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Purdue still wants ex-chancellor report secret

September 3, 2014
 Associated Press
Purdue University is continuing efforts to keep secret a report about the ouster of the Fort Wayne campus chancellor, even though federal and state judges have ruled it isn't protected by attorney-client privilege.
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US prosecutors from across nation meeting in Indy

September 3, 2014
 Associated Press
Federal prosecutors from across the country are gathering in Indianapolis to discuss ways to reduce the number of guns in the hands of criminals and other violent crime initiatives.
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Steak n Shake can’t force arbitration with disgruntled franchisees

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed that Steak n Shake Enterprises Inc. cannot compel several of its franchisees to engage in nonbinding arbitration regarding claims brought by the franchisees in federal court. Steak n Shake tried to force arbitration after the restaurants already sued over the requirement all restaurants must adhere to company pricing and promotions.
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7th Circuit dismisses 3 Latin Kings gang members’ appeals

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because three Latin Kings gang members took plea deals with the government after they were charged with several counts – including conspiracy to participate in racketeering – that limited their ability to appeal, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out their appeals Friday.
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Divided 7th Circuit affirms dismissal of RTW challenge

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A split panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the decision by a federal judge in northern Indiana to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a union challenging Indiana’s right-to-work law. The majority concluded the law does not violate the union members’ rights under the U.S. Constitution nor is it preempted by federal labor legislation.
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Solo practitioner named to Lake County bench

September 2, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Merrillville attorney Bruce Parent has been named as a judge in the Lake Superior Court, Civil Division.
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Irsay pleads guilty to misdemeanor in drug case

September 2, 2014
 Associated Press
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay must submit to drug testing for a year after pleading guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated stemming from his arrest after a traffic stop in March.
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Tax Court reverses reduction in school corp.'s exempt debt service fund levy

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court on Friday overturned the decision by the Department of Local Government Finance to reduce the Gary Community School Corp.’s exempt debt service fund levy for the 2011 budget year. Judge Martha Wentworth found the state agency had no authority to reduce the levy.
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Supreme Court recommends abolishing Marion County township courts

September 2, 2014
Dave Stafford
A report from the National Center for State Courts recommends the nine township small claims venues in Indianapolis transition into a unified section of Marion Superior Courts. The Indiana Supreme Court is asking lawmakers to abolish the current system and unify them with the Superior Courts’ Civil Division effective Jan. 1, 2016.
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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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