Judge: Indiana sex offender class violates US Constitution

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A recent court ruling that says Indiana's mandated sex offender classes for prisoners violates the U.S. Constitution will affect all convicted, incarcerated sex offenders who opt out of the state's sex offender program.

A federal judge issued a ruling in late September siding with plaintiffs who challenged the program in a class-action lawsuit.

The plaintiffs said they shouldn't be forced to attend classes that force them to admit guilt if they pleaded not guilty to the crimes for which they were convicted.

The Indiana Attorney General's Office has filed an emergency stay in the case, the Indianapolis Star reported. The office said the decision could put the public at risk by putting convicted sex offenders back on the streets.

Indiana's Sex Offender Monitoring and Management program began in 1999. It requires participants to share the details of the crimes for which they were convicted and confess to any past acts of sexual violence.

Jeff Cardella, a criminal law professor at Indiana University's Robert H. McKinney School of Law, said the confession requirement to other crimes that they weren't convicted or accused of is a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment.

"The criminal defendant could potentially face additional charges as a result of that confession," Cardella said. "They're being ordered to confess to crimes the state might otherwise not be aware of."


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com

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