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. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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