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Revocation of probation was court error

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A trial court erred when it revoked a man’s probation, because it failed to consider several factors before issuing that order, Indiana’s Court of Appeals ruled.

In James Ripps v. State of Indiana, No. 15A01-1109-CR-436, James Ripps pleaded guilty to child molesting as a Class C felony in March 2009 for molesting his son in 1997 or 1998. He was sentenced to eight years, with six years and 300 days suspended to probation.

In 2011, the state filed a probation revocation petition, alleging Ripps committed a Class D felony when he failed to comply with sex offender registry requirements. Ripps had been living within 1,000 feet of a youth program center and failed to inform all people living at his residence of his sexual conviction. Ripps admitted the violations and the trial court revoked his probation and ordered him to serve the remaining portion of his sentence in prison.

Ripps, who is terminally ill, entered an assisted living facility in March 2011 and informed the sheriff of his new address. The sheriff told Ripps that his new residence was within 1,000 feet of a public library, which qualifies as a youth program center. The state filed notice of a probation violation and arrested Ripps, and the court ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence – two years and 266 days – in prison.

Ripps moved to correct error, contending his conviction for failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements, and the subsequent probation revocation, violated the Indiana and United States Constitutions’ prohibitions against ex post facto application of the law because the statute giving rise to such criminal act took effect in July 2006 and his qualifying offense occurred prior to that time. The trial court agreed and vacated the conviction; by that time, he had already served 1 to 1-1/2 years in prison.

The state had claimed only that Ripps committed a new crime; it had not specifically mentioned Ripps living within 1,000 feet of a youth program center.

The appellate court held that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking Ripps’ probation, given his medical condition and his attempt to adhere to the terms of his probation. The COA also held that the distance between the residential facility and the library was about 20 feet shy of 1,000 feet, and some ambiguity existed about how that distance was calculated.

 

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    Section 11. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search or seizure, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized.
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    Prosecuitors are protected from prosecution and civil action even if they lie, manufacture false evidence or withold evidence important to a defendant in order to engineer a conviction, often when they know the defendant is innocent! It is no wonder prosecutors often act like brainless idiots like the prosecutor in this story!

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  1. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  2. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  3. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  4. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  5. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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