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Man wins appeal of case against Indiana Parole Board

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Several conditions of a man’s parole following his conviction of criminal deviate conduct involving an adult – including prohibitions on spending time with his own children – were found to be overbroad or vague by the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday. The judges reversed the grant of partial summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Parole Board and other defendants on David Bleeke’s complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief.

As part of his parole, the parole board imposed conditions that prevented him, as a sex offender, from working or volunteering at any attraction designed to be enjoyed by children under 16. Additional conditions listed on his standardized form – conditions 4, 5, 17, and 19 – prohibited him from associating with minors, including his own children and step-children.

Bleeke filed a complaint in federal court challenging similar aspects of his parole, which led to the parole board holding a special hearing as a result of a court order. The federal court preliminary enjoined the parole board from enforcing conditions 4, 5, 17, and 19 with regard to his children and stepchildren. Bleeke presented evidence from his Sex Offender Management and Monitoring Program supervisor and others that he posed no risk to children. The board decided to uphold all the parole conditions previously imposed.

That’s when Bleeke filed his complaint in Allen County, leading to this appeal. Before a final judgment was issued in this case, he moved to Ohio to be closer to his wife and children. In 2011, Allen Superior Judge Nancy Eshcoff Boyer converted the preliminary injunction regarding his own family to a permanent injunction, but granted summary judgment to the parole board on all other issues raised by Bleeke.

The Court of Appeals found that Bleeke shouldn’t be considered as an offender against children based on his criminal deviate conduct conviction because that statute dictating that classification is only applicable to offenses committed after July 1, 2006. Bleeke committed sexual deviate conduct in 2002.

The judges pointed out that the parole board witnesses presented evidence that Bleeke isn’t a danger to children, so I.C. 13-11-3-4(g)(2)(D), which limits legitimate conduct regarding employment and association, is overbroad as applied to Bleeke. They found other conditions were also either overbroad or vague as applied to him, including condition 8 that Bleeke may not visit businesses that sell sexual devices or aids.

The appellate court also found that by participating in the SOMM program, he may be forced to incriminate himself or else risk probation revocation. The SOMM program’s requirements violate the Fifth Amendment, Senior Judge Carr Darden ruled in David Bleeke v. State of Indiana, Edwin G. Buss, Gregory Server, Randall P. Gentry, Thor R. Miller, Valerie J. Parker, William R. Harris, Mia Kelsaw, Damita VanLandingham, and Susan Feasby, 02A05-1201-PL-25.

The judges sent the case back to the trial court with instructions that it vacate summary judgment for the parole board and enter summary judgment in favor of Bleeke; enter an order enjoining the parole board from enforcing any conditions premised on the idea that Bleeke is a danger to minors; enter an order enjoining the parole board from enforcing parole conditions 8, 15, 17 and 19; and enter an order enjoining the board from requiring Bleeke to incriminate himself as part of the SOMM program.

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