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Nominations are now being accepted for 2020 Founder’s, Rookie Probation Officer, and Line Probation Officer of the Year Awards

Nominations are being accepted until August 17, 2020 for three awards traditionally presented during our Annual Meeting.

The Founder’s Award is a way of recognizing individuals who have significantly contributed to the field of probation in general, and specifically to the POPAI organization. The recipient need not be a Probation Officer or POPAI member. The selected person, however, shall be characterized by his/her commitment of influence and promotion of professionalism to Indiana probation.

The “Rookie” Probation Officer of the Year Award was established to recognize probation officers who, while at the beginning of their career, show the attitude, aptitude, and the desire to improve themselves and to develop into leaders among their peers.

The Line Probation Officer of the Year Award was established to recognize line probation officers who have performed their duties in an outstanding manner and/or made significant contributions to the field of probation at the local, regional or national level. The recipient may also have brought credit or honor to the profession of probation through participation or involvement in community activities or programs. Continue reading →

POPAI Fall Conference News

Memo from Adam McQueen, President of the Probation Officers Professional Association of Indiana,

The widespread disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced Probation Departments across the State of Indiana to make compromises and sacrifices in order to protect the health of their staff members, as well as the general public. While the State has begun to ease its stance on public gatherings and travel, POPAI feels that it would be irresponsible to host any large gathering of people, where the potential for exposure would most certainly be elevated. For this reason, POPAI has regretfully decided to cancel its 2020 Annual Fall Conference, which was slated to be held September 9-11, 2020 in French Lick, Indiana.

At present, POPAI is discussing options it might pursue to provide continuing education hours to its membership, possibly in a virtual format. Additional information will be posted as soon as it is available. In the meantime, we encourage our members to take advantage of free or low cost webinars that are being offered online by a multitude of other agencies, such as NADCP and APPA.

Thank you for your continued support of our professional association. I look forward to the time when we can all join back together.

Adam McQueen

President, Probation Officers Professional Association of Indiana

Food Stamp Use Could Skyrocket With Loss of Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

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Route Fifty on 7/28/2020 by Andrea Noble

Even with the expanded benefits for out-of-work people, millions of families had to sign up for food stamps during the early months of the pandemic. Now even more people are expected to need the assistance.

More than 6 million people began receiving food stamps during the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic—a number experts say is likely to rise now that Congress has allowed enhanced unemployment benefits to lapse.

And that could lead to backlogs for state agencies tasked with administering the food safety net program.

Out-of-work Americans who received the extra $600 a week in enhanced federal unemployment benefits during the pandemic have been unable to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP]. The payments counted as income used to determine eligibility for the food stamp program, meaning those who received the benefit made too much to qualify.

But the enhanced benefits expired this month and Congress has yet to approve an extension. As a result, many unemployed workers who were initially excluded from SNAP could now be eligible, said Ellen Vollinger, legal director for the Food Research and Action Center.

With upwards of 1 million new unemployment claims filed each week for the last several weeks, there continues to be great need for food assistance programs, she said.

“There is nothing right now that looks like the need is abating,” Vollinger said. “The notion that the economy is going to get back to a decent situation where people are not going to need SNAP is unrealistic.”

The Pennsylvania State Department Of Human Services is bracing for an uptick in the coming weeks, Secretary Teresa Miller told KDKA Radio this week.

“We could in the coming weeks see more of an influx of applications as people find themselves just not able to put food on the table and just find themselves in a different economic situation,” Miller said. “So, we are certainly preparing for that and hope that we can meet that need.”

At the same time SNAP enrollments are poised to increase, states will have to oversee renewals for previous enrollments, which could result in state systems being crushed by a backlog of applications needing to processed, the American Public Human Services Association warned in a statement issued this week.

The association is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide states with more flexibility, such as extending the certification periods, which the group said would allow agencies “to keep up with the unprecedented volume of cases due in the upcoming months.”

“Without the adjustments needed to manage caseloads within resource constraints, states are at risk to fall behind in delivering benefits to children and families and see backslides in program integrity,” the association said.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, who chairs the House Agriculture Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Subcommittee, this week introduced legislation that would allow states to extend SNAP certification periods, adjust periodic reporting and interview requirements for recipients through June 2021 without requiring them to obtain USDA approval.

“This is something USDA is doing broadly now, and should continue doing to make sure hungry Americans—including children, seniors and individuals with disabilities—have enough to eat,” she said.

A coronavirus relief proposal introduced this week by Senate Republicans does not include any additional funding for SNAP, though a Democrat-drafted bill passed by the House in May would increase SNAP benefits by 15%.

Democrats and Republicans trying to broker a deal to pass the next round of coronavirus relief before lawmakers August recess.

Becoming Tele-Ready | Tele-Work in Ramsey County

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APPA Connect on 7/26/2020 by Jason Mereness

The day was March 16, 2020, in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. The event was the COVID-19 global pandemic. The task was instantly transforming our department’s probation supervision practices from traditional to almost exclusively remote. This task, while challenging, was not unique to us in Ramsey County Community Corrections. We hope you will find this reflection on our experience a worthwhile perspective.

Like most probation departments throughout the country, Ramsey County traditionally provided supervision through in-person meetings with clients in government offices or in the field. In response to COVID-19, transformative efforts have been made to at least temporarily transition from traditional approaches of probation supervision to almost exclusively remote supervision and services. Social distancing requirements related to COVID-19 have ushered in the exploration of the tele-work/tele-supervision frontier for probation supervision in Ramsey County, and for most departments across the country.

In this article, we will share our transformative probation supervision experience in Ramsey County during the COVID-19 global pandemic event. Specifically, we will present initial efforts made to become tele-ready, share tele-work tools that appear to be working well, and identify what tele-work challenges remain. In doing so, we hope to promote further discussion about tele-work amongst departments and agents.

Tele-Ready

APPA’s Technology Committee’s recent blog posts have explored tele-work and tele-supervision. The information presented here will focus on tele-work; that is, technology-aided work environments, processes and support mechanisms that allow a community supervision agent to conduct their daily tasks from any location – explicitly not at offices. Check out Eric Tumperi’s previous article where he goes deeper into the definitions of tele-work and tele-supervision.

Prior to March 2020, the term tele-work was not a part of our department’s vernacular. Department laptops and cell phones were not widely available or used by many of our agents. As the COVID-19 global pandemic event became a reality in Ramsey County, the department scrambled to inventory equipment and to identify what was needed to successfully manage remote probation supervision. This inventory process was an attempt to become what we call ‘tele-ready.’ To become tele-ready, our department used our inventories to quickly prioritize the roll-out of all available equipment and made strategic efforts to procure what was still needed. Becoming tele-ready ensured that we would have the tools necessary to do tele-work.

Tele-Work Tools | What’s Working Well

The following tele-work tools appear to be working well for us. We hope that you may be able to benefit from our retrospective look at the process we exercised in becoming tele-ready. These suggestions are based solely on observations within our agency in Ramsey County and are nowhere near exhaustive.

The basic tele-work tools include:

  • Laptop and/or tablet
  • Laptop docking station and/or hard drive that can be remoted into
  • Cell phone and/or integrated desktop phone and laptop software (Voice over Internet Protocol/VoIP)
  • Desktop camera/microphone
  • Wi-Fi/internet

These foundational tools and processes have enabled us to use several supportive tele-work tools. Here are some that are working well:

  • Video conferencing programs/apps
  • Audio conferencing options/apps
  • Key fobs for agents without cell phones that provide random number codes that can be used to remote login to desktop computers
  • Messaging options with screen share capabilities
  • Automated phone reporting system for clients
  • Standard computer software (Email, Create Documents, Spreadsheets, etc.)
  • Document collaboration tools (or software)
  • Templates to document remote client contacts (legitimizing tele-supervision)
  • Ability to print items remotely or to a location where others can physically mail them
  • Streamlined document mailing (sending/receiving) processes
  • Digital client files and document repositories

All the above listed tools and processes foster communication and connectivity which are key to doing tele-work! As Patricia O’Hagan mentioned in the previous article, “the need to maintain effective communication and information flow within teams has become paramount to business continuity.” This is true for agent-to-supervisor, agent-to-agent and agent-to-client communication.

Having multiple forms of communication has been beneficial for us as a department and has promoted a culture of innovation as we consider our best options moving forward. For example, having call-in options (versus only having a video option) for web meetings has allowed for more inclusivity. Agents or clients who may struggle with the video technology can still actively participate by calling in.

When it comes to laptops, working with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows our staff to work directly and securely from a remote location. This option has been far more efficient than using some type of remote portal to access a desktop computer. For example, remoting in does not allow for the laptop camera and microphone to be functional; working with a VPN allows for full functionality. The integrated desktop phone software/VoIP service has been a game changer. VoIP phone service allows agents to maintain contacts and make phone calls all on one device over the Internet. One of the best benefits of VoIP is that it allows for potential conference/merged phone calls where agents can do direct referrals by calling providers with clients.

Tele-Work Tools | Challenges

No change happens without challenges. The transition from traditional to remote probation supervision is not the exception. The following have been perceived challenges when it comes to operationalizing tele-work tools.

Tele-work challenges include:

  • Some agents are not comfortable using the technology required for tele-work
  • Identifying what each unit/agent needs to be tele-ready
  • Access to technology (devices, hardware, software, Wi-Fi, etc.) could be limited
  • IT support has limited resources to address agent technology needs; agents resort to peer support
  • System updates, upgrades or password changes can result in agents getting locked out of the system
  • Building new or updated processes (including policy and procedure) with new tele-work tools
  • Training new staff remotely
  • Increased vulnerabilities in network security

Tele-work challenges will become frustrating at times. We have had to make a conscious effort to frame the challenges as simply opportunities to do things better.

This article is meant to be a snapshot look at initial implementation efforts in tele-work for Ramsey County Community Corrections. We hope that this information serves as a starting point for tele-work discussions amongst agents and departments from around the country. It is our hope that by sharing our efforts, experiences, and suggestions around tele-work, that we can inform and successfully grow our tele-work options together.

We hope you have found this article helpful and we invite you to share your experiences with tele-work within your agency. If you have a story to tell, please contact Eric Tumperi, APPA Technology Chair, for more information on how your experiences and findings can be developed and published for the field of probation, parole, community corrections, pretrial and treatment delivery.

Join us in a future blog, in which we will cover Tele-Supervision in Ramsey County.

About the APPA Technology Committee: We are charged with helping to ensure that APPA provides the field of probation, parole, and community corrections with useful and timely information about the uses of technology to enhance and improve community supervision outcomes. We develop position papers, articles, and blogs, as well as conduct field surveys and identify and recruit expert contributors for conferences and webinars. To learn more about how you can be a part of the Technology Committee and contribute to our profession, contact our Committee Chair Eric Tumperi.

Facebook messages in police sting weren’t wrongly admitted in man’s jury trial

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The Indiana Lawyer on 7/30/2020 by Katie Stancombe

Facebook messages exchanged between a man wanted on warrant and a fake profile created by police were not wrongly admitted during his jury trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in a Thursday decision.

When Lafayette police learned that Michael Parker was wanted on a warrant from another jurisdiction and that he was possibly in the area, law enforcement obtained his photo from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and matched it to a photo and date of birth listed on Parker’s Facebook profile.

Law enforcement then created a fictitious Facebook profile account and began exchanging messages with Parker about selling a car. Parker then solicited the law enforcement officer in charge of the fake account to sell methamphetamine, and Parker was later detained at that location during their arranged meeting time.

Several small bags of meth, a pencil sharpener containing small bags of meth, and a digital scale with white residue were found in Parker’s pockets, as was his cell phone. The law enforcement officer who had been exchanging messages with Parker called him via the fake profile through Facebook Messenger, which prompted Parker’s cell phone to ring.

Parker was charged with multiple offenses, but ultimately convicted of Level 3 felony dealing in meth and Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle without ever receiving a license.

During the jury trial, Parker’s counsel objected to the admission of the Facebook messages between him and the undercover law enforcement officer, arguing that the messages should be authenticated. However, the trial court overruled, finding that the evidence was “sufficient enough to establish to the Court that there’s a reasonable probability that these messages did come from Mr. Michael Parker’s Facebook account.”

An appellate panel affirmed, finding no abuse of the trial court’s discretion in admitting the Facebook messages in Michael Scott Parker v. State of Indiana, 20A-CR-315. 

“We conclude that the evidence was sufficient to authenticate the messages as being authored by Parker. Even if the evidence was not indisputable proof that Parker wrote the messages, such proof was not required,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the panel.

“Any lingering doubts about whether Parker wrote the messages went to their evidentiary weight, not their admissibility. Based upon the record, we cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in admitting the messages.”

Pandemic Preparedness and Response among Community Supervision Agencies: The Importance of Partnerships for Future Planning

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Abt Associates via APPA Website on 7/10/2020 by Abt Associates Holly Swan, PhD, Walter Campbell, PhD

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the United States (U.S.) justice system—from policing to reentry— has been profound (Chapman, Irazola, and Swan, 2020). Appropriately, much of the focus in media and scholarly outlets has been on the impact of the pandemic on prisons and incarcerated populations (Akiyama, et al., 2020; Busanksy, 2020; Burki, 2020;
Kinner, et al., 2020; Leibrenz, et al., 2020; Nadel and Campbell, 2020; Yang & Thompson, 2020).

However, the pandemic also has had direct impact on community supervision agencies and populations. Any changes at other points along the justice continuum also will have direct or indirect impacts on community supervision. In this white paper, we discuss those impacts, how agencies have responded, factors that have influenced agency responses, and suggestions for how researchers, professional associations, agencies, and funders can work together to answer critical questions for future planning and response.

Download the 12 page PDF document here

JQC issues guidance on judges participating in marches, social issue events

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The Indiana Lawyer on 7/20/20

Indiana judicial officers who want to participate in public events aimed at addressing social issues are allowed to do so, as long as they can in a manner that doesn’t impinge upon the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, a new advisory opinion from the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications says.

The JQC issued Advisory Opinion #1-20 on Monday addressing the ethical considerations for judges to weigh before participating in marches and other public events addressing social issues.

Pretrial Risk Assessment in Practice: Lessons and Research from Indiana

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Center for Behavioral Health and Justice on 7/21/2020 by Center for Behavioral Health and Justice

Over 300 individuals registered for the NIJ webinar: Pretrial Risk Assessment in Practice Lessons & Research from Indiana on July 15th, 2020 to learn about implementation of the Indiana Risk Assessment System – Pretrial Assessment Tool (IRAS-PAT) in Indiana.

This webinar is now publicly available on YouTube and can be found here:

Web Exclusive: Legal clinic offers education series through Facebook

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The Indiana Lawyer on 7/22/2020 by Katie Stancombe

Rachel Van Tyle and Katy Strader of the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic share their legal expertise via Facebook. (Zoom image courtesy of NCLC)

 

When in-person legal education events became virtually impossible during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic chose to go virtual.

The clinic, out of necessity, decided to implement a new way of reaching the communities it serves through a social media platform that has recently taken off, Facebook Watch.

“The concept of doing outreach through legal education came about as a need, and that need was, ‘How do we replace what we were normally doing?’” said Amy Horton, the clinic’s executive director. “Switch to a mechanism that people could utilize to get the information that they desperately needed.”

For the past few months, the clinic every Tuesday has offered legal education focused on a variety of general civil legal aid topics, such as family law, housing and consumer issues, wills and estates, and driver’s license issues, among others. Thursdays are dedicated solely to issues surrounding immigration.

Every attorney at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic participates in the Facebook Live series discussions, said Rachel Van Tyle, the clinic’s director of legal servicesEach attorney delves into topics in their practice areas and digs further into specific concerns related to those topics.

Van Tyle is the only attorney who participates in the live series every week, but it’s because she loves doing it.

“I like providing people with information. It has always been an important part of our mission, part of which is providing people with legal education. I think we have to get creative with how we do that, but I think it is so important because better-informed people can make better-informed decisions about their future,” Van Tyle explained.

Van Tyle hosts the discussions on immigration each Thursday with the assistance of Katy Strader, one of the clinic’s bilingual paralegals who translates Van Tyle’s messages into Spanish. Every episode from the live series is translated, Van Tyle noted, regardless of the legal topic. The hope in doing that, she said, is to reach the most people who can access the clinic’s services from wherever they are. View an episode of the series here. Continue reading →

2020 Knepple Scholarship Award Winner Patrick Hillenburg

Patrick Hillenburg, Green County PO and Charley Knepple Scholarship Award Winner

Every year POPAI provides a scholarship in memory of probation officer Donald “Charley” Knepple. Charley lost his life on April 28, 1997, while performing his probation officer duties in Allen County, Indiana. In an effort to honor an outstanding professional and to promote further professionalism, POPAI selected a scholarship that would encourage continued education and advanced degrees for probation officers in our state.

This year Patrick Hillenburg from Greene County was selected as the recipient. Patrick has been a probation officer and a member of POPAI for ten years. Patrick is pursuing a Master of Science in Criminal Justice at Bowling Green State University and is maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Judge Erik “Chip” Allen of the Greene County Circuit Court stated “Throughout his employment with the Greene County Probation Department Patrick has displayed the integrity, discipline, and good character that is demanded of probation officers. I have observed that Patrick is personable, diligent in his duties, uses common sense, is timely, and has solid work ethic.”

Judge Dena A. Martin of the Greene County Superior Court stated “He is always eager to assist the court in any area and I’m impressed with his willingness to go the extra mile while supervising his probationers. I have witnessed his dedication to his work and attention to detail. Patrick is a highly motivated individual who strives for excellence in all his endeavors.”

Patrick stated “I believe furthering my education will help me be more effective in my diverse role as a Probation Officer. Often, the role of community corrections is a thankless job with success stories few and far between. The rare success stories are such a powerful human experience to be a part of, that the failures are quickly forgotten. One motivation for continuing my education is to help facilitate more success stories.”

Congratulations Patrick!

Families of Prisoners Sue Over High Cost of Phone Calls

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Route Fifty on 7/6/2020 by Emma Coleman

The lawsuit alleges three private companies that provide telecom services in prisons lied to state and local governments about the cost of doing business.

A new lawsuit filed in federal district court is taking aim at the high cost of making phone calls from prison.

Families of incarcerated people are calling the prices charged for phone calls by telecom contractors in state prisons exorbitant and illegal. With prices that range from $9.99 or $14.99 for a 10 to 15 minute call, the families say that talking to loved ones becomes a financial hardship.

“Many of the folks who are incarcerated and their families come from low-income communities,” said George Farah of Handley, Farah & Anderson, a law firm that filed the case in conjunction with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and other nonprofit groups. “They’re captive to this market. They don’t get to choose which telecom provider to use to talk to their loved ones. The companies exploited the captivity of these families for profit.”

Continue reading →

Indiana Left It To County Courts To Release Prisoners During The COVID Crisis. Most Of Them Haven’t.

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Indiana Public Media on 07/14/2020 by Jake Harper

Public health experts and advocates have worried about correctional facilities since the beginning of the pandemic. In such close quarters, social distancing is difficult or impossible, and a coronavirus outbreak poses risks to inmates, staff and the surrounding communities.

To mitigate those risks, some governors — including those in Indiana’s neighboring states — took steps to reduce the prison population, focused mainly on inmates convicted of low-level offenses near the end of their sentences, or those deemed vulnerable to COVID-19. In April, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued orders to release about 1,200 state inmates. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine let out more than 100 people.

But Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has taken no such action, leaving it to local courts to decide whether inmates should be let out early or put on house arrest. Very few have done so — even as the number of COVID-19 cases in the prison system surged.

From March through May, just 27 inmates received COVID-related sentence modifications, according to data from the Indiana Department of Correction. That number accounts for just one tenth of 1% of the state’s total prison population of around 26,000 people.

“There are many more people in the department of correction who could be released,” says Amy Karozos, the state public defender. “That number is very low.”

The state public defender represents indigent clients appealing their convictions, but during the pandemic, Karozos decided to pursue sentence modifications to see if she could get clients out more quickly.

“What purpose does it serve to keep someone in for another couple months when their risk [of contracting COVID-19] is so high?” Karozos said. “You’ve got to weigh the costs and benefits.”

On March 27, the Indiana Public Defender Council wrote a letter to Holcomb, co-signed by Karozos. It argued that Holcomb should commute the sentences of thousands of inmates who were imprisoned for non-violent crimes before Indiana’s sentencing laws were eased in 2014. Had they been sentenced under current law, some would be out of prison already.

“Any time would be the right time to commute the sentences of these nonviolent inmates,” the letter reads, pointing out that governors in other states granted clemency following similar sentencing reforms. “But, in the time of a state of emergency, it is essential to release this class of inmates now.”

Holcomb, whose office declined to comment for this story, did not respond to the letter, and he has held fast through similar calls for executive action.

“I do not believe in releasing those low-level offenders,” Holcomb said in a news conference on April 13. “We have got our offenders in a safe place — we believe maybe even safer than just letting them out.

Since then, positive COVID-19 cases have grown to include more than 700 prisoners and 320 corrections staff, although testing has been limited. Twenty prisoners and two staff members have died during the pandemic.

Continue reading –>

San Francisco Lawmaker Introduces ‘CAREN Act’ to Stop Racially-Biased 911 Calls

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Route Fifty on 7/8/2020 by Emma Coleman

The Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act would create penalties for those who make false emergency reports.

On Memorial Day in New York City, a white woman named Amy Cooper called the police on a Black birdwatcher, Christian Cooper (the two are not related), and falsely reported that he was threatening her. A video of the incident in Central Park went viral online, racking up nearly 50 million views.

Though Amy Cooper was charged this week with filing a false report, a misdemeanor that could come with a year jail sentence, some say that the incident and other occurrences of “white caller crime” prove the need for legislation specific to racially biased 911 calls. In response, city councils and state legislatures across the country are considering measures that would penalize those who make false emergency reports on the basis of bias towards protected classes.

The latest measure is the “CAREN Act,” or the Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act, introduced in San Francisco by city and county Supervisor Shamann Walton. The name of the bill is a tongue-in-cheek reference to “Karen,” a meme shorthand for middle-aged white women who call the police on Black people for innocuous actions like barbecuing, playing music in parks, napping in college dorms, or as some have put it, “breathing while Black.”

Continue reading →

Many Public Defenders Getting Compensated Less Than Minimum Wage

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Indiana Public Media on 077/13/2020 by Brandon Smith

Many attorneys doing public defender work do so under contract with counties – meaning they get paid a flat amount, regardless of the number of hours they work. And that’s the primary method of public defense in about a third of Indiana. (WFIU/WTIU News file)

Many lawyers in Indiana doing public defender work earn less than minimum wage, after accounting for overhead costs.

That’s from a survey by the Indiana Public Defender Commission covering more than 200 attorneys.

Many attorneys doing public defender work do so under contract with counties – meaning they get paid a flat amount, regardless of the number of hours they work. And that’s the primary method of public defense in about one-third of Indiana.

Those attorneys have significant overhead costs that public defenders who are employees of the counties don’t have, staffing and office space the most significant.

And when taking into account those overhead costs, the Public Defender Commission’s survey says contract attorneys earn less than $6 per hour.

Commission senior staff attorney Derrick Mason said as a result, many of those lawyers have to take on a lot of private clients too, just to cover their costs.

“Who is being punished? The clients that don’t get to choose their lawyer but have a constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel,” Mason said.

Mason says potential solutions include counties covering those overhead costs, increasing compensation, or paying hourly rates rather than flat contract fees.

POPAI Board Submits Proposed Bylaw Changes

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on 7/8/2020 by POPAI Board

According to the POPAI Bylaws, Article XIV AMENDMENTS

These bylaws may be altered, amended or repealed by the membership if a quorum is present at any regular or special meeting. Any proposed alteration to the bylaws shall be submitted to the President of the Executive Board at least sixty (60) days prior to the annual business meeting. That proposed change shall be submitted to the membership thirty (30) days prior to the annual business meeting for action at the annual meeting.

The POPAI Executive Board is now submitting the proposed bylaw changes to the Association membership. The membership will be asked to vote on these bylaw revisions in September.

The proposed changes relate primarily to statement of purpose and mission, identification of the Fiscal Year (January – December), duties of board members, methods of voting, and the annual business meeting.

POPAI members may submit any feedback regarding these proposed bylaw changes to their District Reps or any member of the POPAI Board.

Proposed Bylaws are available in a PDF document.

Justices grant expungement petition that led to change in law

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The Indiana Lawyer on 06/24/2020 by David Stafford

Confusion over prolonged expungement wait times that Indiana’s longest-serving judge called “unjust” was settled Wednesday when the Indiana Supreme Court declared a new law that eliminated the confusion applies retroactively.

In a 4-1 ruling, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered the Elkhart Superior Court to grant the expungement that Naveed Gulzar has sought beginning in 2018. He had been convicted 13 years earlier of Class D felony theft, but because the conviction had been reduced to a misdemeanor in 2016, the court reasoned he would have wait for five years from the entry of the reduced conviction to qualify for an expungement.

The Indiana Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision affirmed the trial court in a ruling that retiring Judge John Baker wrote in dissent was “unjust and ill-advised.”

While Gulzar lost his case in court, he won in the Indiana General Assembly this year.

Senate Enrolled Act 47 makes clear that in cases such as Gulzar’s, the date of the felony conviction controls expungement eligibility, not any subsequent reduction.

The majority of the Indiana Supreme Court agreed that the change in the law should apply retroactively to Gulzar’s case. While the legislation was not expressly retroactive, the majority read it as such in Naveed Gulzar v. State of Indiana19S-XP-673.

Here, the amendment to the misdemeanor expungement statute is remedial — it cured a defect in the prior law,” Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote for the majority joined by all justices except Geoffrey Slaughter. “And, given the broad goals behind Indiana’s expungement scheme, coupled with the urgency with which the legislature addressed this issue, we find that applying the remedial law retroactively to Gulzar effectuates its purpose.”

The change in law, the majority held, “cured a mischief that existed in the prior statute, namely, confusion on when the waiting period begins for certain ex-offenders seeking expungement. … In short, we find that the remedial amendment is aimed at making expungement immediately available for individuals who (1) successfully petition for conversion of a minor felony to a misdemeanor and (2) wait five years from their felony conviction date before seeking expungement. To effectuate that purpose, we apply the remedial law retroactively to Gulzar.”

Dissenting Justice Geoffrey Slaughter, however, took a hardline view that because the statute was not expressly retroactive, the court’s analysis required it to “speculate” about legislative motives. “The better interpretative approach looks not to what the legislature thought but to what it said,” Slaughter wrote, meaning that in this case, Gulzar’s case required a decision based on the language of the statute in place at the time his case arose.

He would thus affirm the COA majority that denied Gulzar’s expungement appeal that Baker criticized.

“Applying that statute, I would affirm the trial court’s denial of his petition for the same reasons Judge Crone recites in his thoughtful opinion,” Slaughter wrote.

The case attracted an amicus brief in support of Gulzar from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Civil Practice Clinic.