ILNews

Sex offender not eligible to participate in county diversion program

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a defendant’s petition for judicial review after he was denied placement by the court in the Vanderburgh County Forensic Diversion Program. The COA held that there was no final administrative decision for the court to review.

Jason Morales was convicted of three counts of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor, which is considered a violent offense under I.C. 11-12-3.7-6. He sought placement in the diversion program, but the trial court denied it on the basis that the program does not accept any sex offender.

In Jason E. Morales v. State of Indiana, 82A05-1302-CR-72, Morales, pro se, appealed the denial of his petition for judicial review. He argued that because I.C. 11-12-3.7-12 already provides that persons convicted of certain offenses deemed violent are excluded from placement into post-conviction forensic diversion programs, and not all sex offenses are included in that list, the program exceeded its statutory authority by establishing acceptance criteria more exclusive than those in the statute.

The Court of Appeals concluded that the denial of the petition wasn’t an abuse of discretion because there was no final administrative decision for the trial court to review. Morales never applied for acceptance into the program and was thus never rejected from consideration by the program, Judge John Baker pointed out.

 Even if the program had explicitly rejected Morales, its decision would not have been arbitrary or capricious because Morales was ineligible under the statute. And even assuming solely for argument’s sake that Morales had been eligible under the statute, Indiana counties have the ability to determine the scope of their forensic diversion programs, the judges held.

“Despite Morales’s arguments to the contrary, neither the trial court nor we are at liberty to disregard the statute’s clear language and determine that class B felony sexual misconduct as a minor, inasmuch as it is enhanced merely upon the age of the offender, is not a violent offense,” Baker wrote.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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