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Opinions Oct. 31, 2013

October 31, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Mark Suesz, individually and on behalf of a class v. Med-1 Solutions LLC
13-1821
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Affirms dismissal of Suesz’s complaint that Med-1 Solutions violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act after obtaining a favorable judgment against him in Marion County Small Claims Court in Pike Township because he neither lived nor signed the contract in that township. Small claim courts are not judicial districts for purposes of the FDCPA. Judge Posner dissents.

Katherine Cerajeski, guardian for Walter Cerajeski v. Greg Zoeller, Attorney General of the State of Indiana, et al.
12-3766
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson. Reverses dismissal of lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of part of the Indiana Unclaimed Property Act on the ground it authorizes the state to confiscate private property without any compensation to the owner. Interest on a bank account is considered property the owner is entitled to claim.

Indiana Supreme Court
Robert Bowen v. State of Indiana
http://media.ibj.com/Lawyer/websites/opinions/index.php?pdf=2013/october/10311301per.pdf
08S02-1306-CR-423
Criminal. Grants rehearing for the limited purpose of modifying the remand instructions to expand them since the judge who originally sentenced Bowen is no longer on the bench. Denies Bowen’s request that the case be remanded for imposition of concurrent sentences.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Gary Tibbs v. State of Indiana
49A05-1210-CR-517
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class A felony child molesting, three counts of Class B felony child molesting and one count each of Class D felonies intimidation and child solicitation. The prosecutor’s comments did not amount to fundamental error as the comment was merely one upon the evidence, which is permitted during closing argument.

Michael R. Houston v. State of Indiana
02A03-1303-CR-84
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class D felony possession of cocaine due to insufficient evidence. The state did not prove Houston had constructive possession of the drug.

A.C. v. N.J.
20A04-1301-DR-37
Domestic relation. Reverses ruling that A.C. does not have standing to seek visitation of a child that her domestic partner gave birth to. Remands with instructions to reconsider A.C.’s request for visitation under the standard set forth in third-party visitation cases. Affirms denial of request for joint custody.


Richard Prancik, b/n/f, Renee Prancik v. Oak Hill United School Corporation
27A05-1302-CT-86
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment to Oak Hill on Prancik’s claim that the school corporation breached a duty to him when a fellow student assaulted him. The teacher was acting in accordance with reasonable protocol for supervising students at the time of the incident, neither she nor the school were on any kind of notice that K.M. could be violent, either generally or towards Prancik specifically, and he and Prancik were left unsupervised at most for a mere matter of minutes.

Courtney Glenn v. State of Indiana
49A04-1302-CR-79
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Glenn’s feet-dragging and multiple attempts to pull away from the arresting officer were forcible resistance, and her actions were likely to result in serious bodily injury. Finds no double jeopardy violations.

David Wise v. State of Indiana
49A02-1301-CR-1
Criminal. Dismisses Wise’s interlocutory appeal of the order denying his pre-trial motion in limine to exclude evidence regarding video recordings of video files found on his mobile phone. The motion to certify was deemed denied by operation of Ind. Appellate Rule 14(B)(1)(e).

Tin Thang v. State of Indiana
49A04-1303-CR-110
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication because the evidence is insufficient to establish that the intoxicated Thang alarmed another person within the meaning of the statute or endangered either his life or another person’s life.

George Small v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1304-CR-179
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class D felony battery by bodily waste.

James Tinzley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1303-CR-267
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery.

Gerald M. Joyce v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1302-CR-120
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony burglary and Class D felony theft.

In Re The Marriage of Brian C. Dickerson v. Shannon Dickerson (NFP)
32A04-1211-DR-579
Domestic relation. Affirms award of spousal maintenance to Shannon Dickerson; assignment of certain firearms to Shannon in the property division; finding that Brian Dickerson is in arrears in his child support obligation; conclusion that Shannon had not improperly diverted payments made pursuant to the provisional order; and conclusion that Brian’s military pension is not a marital asset. Remands with instructions to consider evidence and establish the amounts of Brian’s child support arrearage and the Lowe’s debt, the latter of which was assigned to Shannon.

In the Matter of A.G.(Minor Child), A Child Alleged to be a Child in Need of Services J.G.(Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
34A02-1306-JC-514
Juvenile. Dismisses appeal of CHINS finding as it is not a final appealable order.

Andre C. Greene v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1304-CR-161
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony domestic battery.

Bryce Leighton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
53A04-1303-CR-106
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony causing death when operating a motor vehicle with an ACE of 0.15 or more, Class D felony auto theft and Class D felony theft.

In the Matter of Custody of: L.T. and A.B., minor children, R.L. and P.L. v. A.B. and R.B. (NFP)
39A05-1305-MI-235
Miscellaneous. Affirms dismissal of the grandparents’ petition to modify custody.

Charles L. Hubbell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A04-1303-CR-145
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony failure to register as a sex offender.

Kevin James Porter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1303-CR-94
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony burglary.

James Averitte v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1303-CR-119
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor harassment.

Steven Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
33A04-1304-CR-189
Criminal. Affirms the seven-year habitual substance offender enhancement of Wilson’s two-and-a-half year sentence for Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

In Re the Contempt of Dorothy Davis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1307-CR-337
Criminal. Affirms imposition of 180-day sentence for indirect contempt after not appearing as a trial witness in court.

Sharon Jasinski v. Mirian Brown (NFP)
45A03-1212-SC-552
Small claim. Affirms $6,000 judgment in favor of Brown in a small claims action to recover property damages and loss of use damages after an auto accident.

Steven L. O'Bryant v. State of Indiana (NFP)
75A03-1301-CR-3
Criminal. Affirms convictions of four counts of Class A felony child molesting.

Jeffrey E. Howell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
33A01-1305-MI-245
Miscellaneous. The trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to consider Howell’s claims and therefore erred when it denied Howell’s motions on jurisdictional grounds. Moreover, the Sex Offender Management and Monitoring program’s requirements that Howell admit guilt and/or submit to a polygraph violate the Fifth Amendment. Remands with instructions to enter an order granting Howell’s renewed motion for restoration of credit time and class and to enter an order enjoining the DOC from requiring Howell to incriminate himself as part of the SOMM program.

Lyle B. Steele v. Asbury Glen Homes (NFP)
48A02-1209-SC-768
Small claim. Affirms judgment in favor of Asbury Glen Homes on its claim for damages and against Steele on his counterclaim for damages.

George Abel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1206-PC-487
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

The Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline.
 

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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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