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County, judges reach deal to add probation officers

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August 18, 2014

Carrie Napoleon

CROWN POINT — The understaffed criminal courts will be getting five new probation officers, but how the county plans to pay for them remains up in the air.

The Lake County Council on Tuesday approved hiring the five new probation officers for a total of $184,801 in salary plus benefits to bring the courts closer to the state standards defining how many probationers one probation officer can manage.

Loretta Rush becomes Indiana’s chief justice

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Indy Star


Tim Evans

imageThe fact that the new chief justice of Indiana’s Supreme Court took the oath of office in the court’s cramped but historic law library at the Statehouse was no coincidence.

Loretta Rush, the first female to lead the state’s high court, said Monday she picked the location of her ceremonial swearing in with purpose.

“I love these law books for what they represent for our profession, which is almost 200 years of Indiana citizens coming to the courts, seeking just decisions,” Rush said after she was sworn in by Gov. Mike Pence.

Trying To Use The “Updated” Online Indiana Code Is Incredibly Frustrating; July 1 Change-Over Exposes System’s Flaws

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The Indiana Law Blog


Marcia Oddi

What happened on July 1st of this year?

Although significant problems remained, gradually over the years the General Assembly and its staff addressed a number of these concerns. But as of July 1st of this year, 2014, the program has taken a giant step backward. That was the date when:

  1. The online 2013 Indiana Code was updated to reflect the legislative changes made by the 2014 General Assembly;
  2. Its predecessor, the 2013 Indiana Code, was retained, but its familiar easy, speedy access and availability via both html and pdf versions, has been scrapped.

The replacement: a s-l-o-w, complex, non-intuitive, multi-step system requiring much effort by the user to find the even most basic information. And this new system does not become any easier the more you use it.

What is this so important?

Because for the majority of Indiana’s citizens, including many lawyers and judges, the online Indiana Code, maintained by the General Assembly, is the main (or only) way to access Indiana’s statute law.


Juvenile detention left hanging from St. Joe budge cuts

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Fox 28, August 20, 2014

By: Alexi Gray, Multimedia Journalist

SOUTH BEND –  A big task is underway right now in St. Joseph County. Department heads forced to cut three percent from their budgets.

They’re getting down to business, making hard choices about where and how to spend your tax dollars. But there’s a human cost to cutting county dollars too.

St. Joseph County sends more young men into juvenile detention than any other county in the state of Indiana. Efforts have been made to lower those numbers. There’s a state initiative to enroll young offenders into programs as an alternative to detention.


Probation: A tougher path, voluntarily

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(requires Log in, so the full text is included here.)

Bluffton News-Banner
August 12, 2014

If the Wells County Probation Department and Wells Circuit Court Judge Kent Kiracofe get what they want, a new program will be put in place next year to help those most at risk to fail while on probation.

The program would be funded by probation user fees. The first step to letting to plan go forward is the approval of the Wells County Council to use the probation user fees in this manner.

Probation officers and Kiracofe are seeking a different approach to handling some probationers.

“What we’re looking for,” Kiracofe said Monday, “is a way to handle individuals who have some specific needs and how we can address those needs and ultimately reduce recidivism – whether or not they reoffend while on probation.”
Kiracofe said the intensive supervision program would give probationers “incentives to do the right things and disincentives to stop doing the wrong thing.”

The team – Chief Probation Officer Greg Werich, Officer Stephen Pastore and Kiracofe – is asking for the council’s approval to make the department better and the program work, they say.

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Synthetic drugs pose challenges for parents, schools

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by Summer Ballentine 10:09 p.m. EDT August 10, 2014

CaptureSam Motsay’s place as forward on the Center Grove junior varsity basketball team was on the line.

Friends say he wanted to dip into the world of LSD, a drug of 1970s fame that users say bathes reality in a rainbow of colorful hallucinations.

But Motsay didn’t want to jeopardize getting caught or worse — getting kicked off his team. Like every student athlete, new driver, or prom-goer at his school, he faced the possibility of a drug test each day.

Police say the 16-year-old sophomore took the chance anyway one night in May and was found dead hours later next to blotter paper soaked with a synthetic drug called “N-Bomb,” often marketed as LSD.

Motsay’s death underscores the dangers of widely unknown, hard-to-detect manufactured drugs that experts say students, parents, schools and law enforcement need to learn about as a new school year begins.


Plane stowaway gets jail for probation violation

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Aug. 13, 2014

stowawayA woman who flew from San Jose to Southern California without a ticket was sentenced to 177 days in jail Wednesday after acknowledging that she violated her probation by returning to the Los Angeles airport.

Marilyn Jean Hartman, 62, was found wandering through airport terminals after a judge ordered her to stay away from the facility, said Frank Mateljan, spokesman for the city attorney’s office.

While ordering the sentence, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Alan Rubin scolded Hartman for wasting law enforcement resources at an airport that accommodates more than 65 million travelers a year.

“Recently we had shootings here, somebody killed here at LAX. There have been in the past bombing attempts,” Rubin said. “I want and I intend to have police resources to be used in those kinds of matters. Not this.”