ILNews

Lawmakers miss self-imposed deadline

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The Indiana General Assembly tried to end the session more than a week before the constitutional March 14 deadline, but impasses on school funding and unemployment insurance caused the legislators to miss their March 4 self-imposed deadline.

Several bills of interest to the legal community made it out of conference committee, a few with major changes. Legislators cut out the language in Senate Enrolled Act 307 that established Bartholomew Superior Court 3 and reorganized Clark Superior Courts into a unified Circuit Court. Instead, the bill reverted back to its original form of dealing only with Floyd County court matters.

House Enrolled Act 1276, which had been amended to require the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee to report divorce decree statistics each year, was completely stripped in conference committee and converted into a bill on French Lick resort matters. When originally filed, the bill dealt with domestic violence, bullying, and sending of sexual material, but was later amended to focus on the release of records, HIV testing, and JTAC matters.

SEA 224 was amended in conference committee to make the new filing and notice requirements for sex offenders effective upon passage instead of July 1, 2010. The bill was amended during the session to include language addressing the process of removing names of sex offenders from the registry if they qualify.

The Indiana Supreme Court's 2009 decision in Wallace v. State had caused confusion about the process. Now sex offenders will need to file a petition in court and request a court order for removal. The prosecutor will receive notice and have a chance to respond, and the offender would have to provide information to prove he or she is no longer eligible for listing on the registry. If the judge orders removal, the Department of Correction would have to grant it.

Senate Bill 399, which deals with caps on fines for moving violations, now says that a person who admits the violation on the day of the person's court date or who contests the ticket under certain circumstances may not be required to pay more than court costs plus a judgment of $35.50. The conference committee also resolved a conflict between its language and language in HEA 1154, a bill dealing with Marion County courts.

Language concerning Local Development Agreement transparency may not be dead yet. The language was originally inserted into SB 405, which died in the House. There is a chance the language will be inserted into HB 1086, an economic-development bill currently in conference committee, said Bryan Corbin, public information officer for the Attorney General's Office. The AG supports only this language in the bill, which would require non-profit and for-profit LDA agencies that receive casino money to disclose to the state how they distribute grant money. This language failed to pass during the 2009 session.

Two bills of relevance to the courts remained in conference committee as of Indiana Lawyer deadline Thursday - SB 149, involving Department of Child Services matters including out-of-state placements; and HB 1271, which deals with problem-solving courts.

Already before the governor awaiting signatures are HEA 1100, which prohibits an inmate in a county jail from having a cell phone; HEA 1186 on interlocal agreements concerning courts; and HEA 1350 on uniform acts concerning civil procedure.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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