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POPAI Submits an Amicus Curiae Brief with Court of Appeals

Full Article


The Indiana Court of Appeals issued an opinion on March 19, 2019 affirming the trial court.  Read the opinion here.



On January 22, 2019, POPAI authorized the filing of an Amicus Curiae brief drafted by counsel hired by the Association in the Indiana Court of Appeals case number 18A-PL-02528.

In the history of the Association, we have found no record of POPAI advocating for the membership in this way.  Thus, a great deal of thought and debate occurred before moving in this direction.

An Amicus Curiae is a “friend of the court” who is not a party to an action, but has a strong interest in the matter.  The person or association petitions the court for permission to submit a brief with the intent of influencing the court’s decision.  On February 1, 2019, the Court of Appeals granted our Motion to Appear as Amicus Curiae, thus allowing our Association to be heard on the issue.

Though this case involves a probation officer who was a POPAI member in good standing when they voluntarily left employment, it is important to note that we did not intervene on behalf of this individual member.

We are intervening on behalf of all probation officer members in our Association because we believe the question before the court will have significant impact on the employee-employer relationship we have with the courts.  As our brief states, we have “an interest in preserving, protecting, and promoting the close relationship between probation officers and the judicial officers they serve.”

To learn details about the issue and our position in the matter, please read the brief filed by the Association.  You can monitor the status of the case via myCase.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to any Executive Board member with questions or comments regarding this matter.

POPAI Executive Board

Probation officers entitled to earned PTO payout, panel rules

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The Indiana Lawyer on 3/19/2019 by Dave Stafford

Related Article: POPAI Submits an Amicus Curiae Brief with Court of Appeals

Holding that probation officers as court employees are entitled to cash payouts of unused paid time off at the time of their separation of employment, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a judgment in favor of a former Hendricks County probation officer.

The appellate panel affirmed a judgment of $11,075.26 in favor of Gwyn L. Green, who left her job after nearly 24 years and sought to cash in her 331 hours of accrued unused PTO. The Hendricks County Council rejected the request, voting 7-0 to deny it, citing to the county policy manual that says PTO would be paid only to eligible employees upon retirement or disability retirement.

Boone Superior Judge Matthew C. Kincaid ruled in Green’s favor in a judgment on the pleadings, and a panel of the COA affirmed Tuesday in Hendricks County, Indiana, et al. v. Gwyn L. Green, 18A-PL-2528.

“The trial court reached this conclusion holding that ‘The Hendricks County Courts, and not [the County] (fiscal body), sets the salary and controls the terms, condition, and privileges of Probation Officers,” COA Judge Patricia Riley wrote.

“(W)e hold that, as court employees, probation officers are entitled to a cash payout of unused PTO in accordance with the Court’s employee manual and the County is not entitled to sovereign immunity under the Wage Payment Statute,” Riley wrote for the panel.

The panel also noted that Hendricks County’s employee handbook explicitly noted its policies may not apply to court employees. The panel also noted that the judiciary typically treats PTO as deferred compensation.

“The Hendricks County Courts’ request, seeking an appropriation from the County to pay Green’s accrued and unused PTO,” Riley wrote, “clearly signaled that the courts considered the County’s PTO policy inapplicable to probation officers, as they are employees of the courts.”

An amicus brief in this case was filed on Green’s behalf by the Probation Officers Professional Association of Indiana, Inc.

Indiana 211 now offering free rides to drug treatment: ‘It gives people hope’

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Fox 59 on 3/14/2019 by Melissa Crash

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Stranded and in need of life saving support – imagine wanting to get addiction help, but simply not having a ride to get there. That’s one of the biggest challenges Hoosiers with addiction face. A new program is hoping to change that.

Indiana 211 is now a green light to vital care. That’s after they’ve noticed an alarming trend.

“As of today, we’ve completed a total of about 520 rides,” said Project Manager Seth Pennington.

Thousands of substance calls each year show people don’t have a ride to get to treatment.

“Most of them have said I would simply miss the appointment,” added Pennington.

With Indiana 211 now up and working, they say that’s not acceptable. Starting now, people can call 211. The person on the other line will connect them to a ride-sharing driver with Lyft, who will pick them up for their substance disorder appointment for free. They don’t even have to have a smart phone. Indiana 211 will take care of it for you.

Indiana 211 is able to provide this service thanks to a grant through the Department of Mental Health and Addictions with the state of Indiana. It’s a $40,000 grant and goes through the end of June of 2020. However, Pennington says eventually more money will be needed, since drivers aren’t just staying in Central Indiana.

“We’ve completed rides from Columbus, Indiana to Indianapolis,” said Pennington, “rides from Evansville, Indiana to Vincennes; rides from Lafayette, Indiana to Anderson, Indiana.”

Dianna Huddleston with Aspire Indiana says the need for free rides is critical.

“We’re serving almost 10,000 people, active patients we’re seeing every month,” said Huddleston. “They have the mental health or addiction issues, but they’re also dealing with employment issues and housing issues, so it’s very difficult.”

Aspire Indiana provides support to people with addictions, housing assistance, family services and more.

“I know we have consumers in both our Carmel and Noblesville office using it to get to group, to get to their individual treatment appointments and to even get to some of the community resources where they are getting treatment through the recovery community,” said Huddleston.

A free ride means more than just transportation. It’s independence.

“It gives people hope. That they can really, actually complete their treatment,” said Huddleston. “Now I’ve taken away one more barrier.”

Pennington added, “We had an individual who lived in Anderson, Indiana and knew there was a treatment facility they would qualify for in Lafayette. So, that individual had been waiting for almost a month and wasn’t able to get there. When this program went live, they were then able to get connected to treatment and we’re able to get admitted and they’re successfully in the program now.”

At this time, Indiana 211 can’t give rides to Medicaid or HIP patients.

Receipts are checked to make sure the program is used appropriately. So far, there haven’t been any issues. If someone were to take advantage of the free ride service, that individual would be removed from the service.

New court for families affected by addiction

Full Article

Journal Gazette on 3/17/2019 by Matthew LeBlanc

Felicia Patrick participated in Noble County’s Family Preservation Court and was able to keep her children after years of drug abuse.

The Noble County woman was using drugs – “pretty much anything,” but mostly meth. It was 2009, she’d just had a daughter, and another baby, a boy, was on the way.

The Indiana Department of Child Services took custody of her son before she could leave the hospital with him.

“That’s how bad it was,” Patrick, 30, said last week. “I knew then, I’m either going to die, I’m going to go to jail or I’m going to lose everything.”

Patrick is among thousands in Indiana who have transitioned from unhealthy and dangerous situations with the help of specialized courts designed to steer families from bad behavior and toward stability. She credits her faith and Noble Superior Court’s Family Preservation Court with providing her with therapy and the life skills necessary to stay sober and regain custody of her son.

Court leaders in Allen County hope they will soon have similar success stories to share.

Allen Superior Court launched its family-centered court – Family Recovery Court – on Feb. 14. Administrators say the program in which participants could spend more than a year is aimed at untangling a morass of problems parents face that can lead to breaking families apart.

Patrick later divorced, remarried and had another son. She has been sober since 2012.

“Once I realized that the people who were involved (with the court) were supportive and believed in me, it gave me confidence in myself,” she said. “I was so broken, so lost. I did not know how to lead a normal life.

“They gave me this treatment plan to teach me how. I would definitely say they gave me my life back.”

Family Recovery Court can help ensure families are kept intact through treatment, therapy, guidance, individual attention and encouragement, officials said.

“Drug abuse and addiction have an enormous impact on so many aspects of our community,” Judge Charles Pratt said in a statement announcing the creation of the court.

Pratt is administrative judge of Allen Superior Court’s Family Relations Division, where the new court is housed.

“The vast majority of these cases involve parents or guardians with substance abuse issues,” he added “Breaking the cycle and helping families recover demands a new way of doing business.”

Magistrate Sherry Hartzler, former chief legal counsel of the Allen County Department of Child Services office, said she began planning in 2017 for a family court.

Hartzler said she was seeing an increase in cases involving parents or guardians with substance abuse problems. She wanted to help the people who showed up in her courtroom keep their families intact, but there was little she could do.

Allen County had special courts, but no mechanism to help families fighting drugs or alcohol.

“I had this mother in front of me,” Hartzler said. “The mother was struggling with heroin or some opioid. I thought, ‘My God, if only she were involved in drug court.’”

Family Recovery Court is Allen County’s fifth problem-solving court, joining Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Re-entry Court and Veterans Court. It is the eighth established in Indiana, and officials in Delaware, Howard, Knox and Vigo counties are studying similar programs.

Family recovery courts handle civil cases for individuals who have not been charged with a crime.

Families are accepted into the local family court program after they have been found to have children in need of services – CHINS. The designation is used by the state for cases involving allegations of abuse or neglect.

Nearly 750 CHINS cases were filed in Allen County last year, and 818 cases were filed in 2017.

Administrators see themselves as part advocate, part helper and part cheerleader. Working with participants to kick addiction and keep families together can be a longer process than simply shuttling them through the court system, they say, but it’s beneficial in the long run.

Parents remain with their children and it reduces long-term costs to courts because participants are less likely to come back to court with similar cases.

The Justice Department report found that nearly 60 percent of problem-solving court participants did not quit and left programs successfully.

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Christopher Goff established an adult drug court and a family adult court – one of the first in the state in 2006 – in Wabash County when he was a judge there. He and others who have overseen problem-solving courts say just getting parties involved together more frequently is effective in changing behaviors.

More time away from the court can lead to more chances to engage in bad behavior such as relapse, experts say.

“What we found is that it’s a good way to use the convening power of the court to get everyone together,” Goff said. “It’s very efficient in that way.

“If you have everybody that you need (together), you can oftentimes come up with solutions that stop short of removing the child and keep them in their home. In my experience, there was no downside.”

A family court was put in place in Clark County in 2011, and program Director Iris Rubadue estimates participation has ranged from just a handful to more than 30 families. Nearly all of the cases involve drugs or alcohol, she said.

The program there includes providing access to therapy and incentives for participants – gift cards and extended time with children who have been removed – to complete the program. About 75 percent of participants who enter the program stay, Rubadue said.

“It’s totally non-adversarial,” she said. “It’s not punitive. I think problem-solving courts work. We can’t just put (participants) through the system. They’ll come back.”

Judge Steven Hagan agrees.

He oversees the family court in Noble County, where Patrick began her journey to sobriety and stability.

“It is more likely to work, rather than just cycling them through,” he said.

The Allen County family court is based on one in Grant County, where Judge Dana Kenworthy said participants are offered assistance but also required to be accountable for their actions.

“We planned for about three years before we started (in 2015),” she said.

Kenworthy said the program has grown to include “an alumni group” of former participants that helps encourage current participants.

Hartzler, the Allen County magistrate, said she met several times with Kenworthy to ensure everything was in place to begin the local family court, which so far has about five participants. The program will be limited to 35 through its first six months.

“Which is a drop in the bucket but to ensure the success in getting this started, it made sense to start small so we don’t fail by taking on too much all at once,” Hartzler said.

She credits officials and agencies including mental health counselors and guardians ad litem – someone appointed by the court to look out for the best interests of children.

Patrick, who got her children back for good in 2013, is now a board member for Noble House Ministries – where she lived when she was a Family Preservation Court participant.

“They all worked very closely to keep me on track,” she said.

Traffic Stop takes 3.5 Million Dollars Worth of Drugs off The Streets

Full Article

Indiana State Police on 3/14/2019

Hendricks County – Wednesday, March 13, at 11:33 a.m., an Indiana State Trooper stopped a vehicle on Interstate 70 eastbound, near the 66 mile marker, for a traffic violation of following too closely.  The driver of the vehicle was identified as Danny J. Luttrell II, 27, Indianapolis, Indiana, and a passenger in the vehicle was identified as Brandon M. Pierson, 27, also of Indianapolis, Indiana.  During the trooper’s conversation with Luttrell and Pierson, he detected the aroma of, and observed criminal indicators.

 A subsequent search of the vehicle discovered that Luttrell and Pierson were transporting approximately 250 pounds of marijuana and 50,000 vape cartridges that were filled with THC.  The items were discovered in the cargo storage area of the box truck. The street value of the marijuana is estimated at 2.5 million dollars and the vape cartridges estimated value is one million dollars.

Luttrell and Pierson were returning to Indianapolis, Indiana, from Burbank, California.

Both Luttrell and Pierson were taken into custody and transported to the Hendricks County jail.

Arrested and Charges:

  •     Danny J. Luttrell,  Indianapolis, Indiana

Dealing Marijuana Level 5 Felony

  •    Brandon M. Pierson, Indianapolis, Indiana

Dealing Marijuana Level 5 Felony

All criminal defendants are to be presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

FY2019 Amendment Announcement and New Grant Cycle

on 3/19/2019 by Kristen Banschbach, Director of Community Corrections

(Website Administrator’s note: Board Members received the following email this week and I am publishing it here for your information. Karen)

The Indiana Department of Correction has received many challenges with the current timeline of the grants. We have analyzed the concerns and will begin a grant cycle based on a calendar year beginning in January 2020.

On 3/15/2019, we presented the idea to move the grant contracts to a calendar year to the Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council. With approval from the Commissioner and without concern of the council, we will be extending the FY2019 grant awards until 12/31/2019. On 4/1/2019, the instructions for the FY2019 amendment (which will allow the continuation of FY19 funding until 12/31/2019) will be emailed out. For those who do not wish to continue their FY2019 award, you will not be obligated and will need to provide in writing that the entity will not be renewing its award. Those instructions will be provided with the amendment on 4/1/2019.

This means that contract for the current applications, due in Intelligrants 3/31/19, will begin on 1/1/2020 through 12/31/2020.

The grant application deadline in Intelligrants remains 3/31/2019.

A visual for the timeline is attached (FY19-and-2020-Timeline) and the important dates are bulleted below. The important dates for the FY2019 current awards are shown on the lower half of the timeline. The planned timeline for the 2020 grant applications are shown on the top half of the illustration.

Important Dates:

Community Corrections & Justice Reinvestment Grants FY2019


  • IDOC sends 6 month extension amendment out to grantees for signature


  • Grantees return amendment


  • FY2019 6 Month Extension Amendment Begins


  • FY2019 Contract extension ends

Community Corrections & Justice Reinvestment Grants 2020


  • Grant Application due through IntelliGrants

April-July 2019

  • IDOC Review, Scoring, Formula, & Pre-award recommendations

August 2019

  • Grant Review Hearings

September 2019

  • Grant awards finalized and approved by the Commissioner and JRAC


  • IDOC sends 2020 contract out for signatures


  • Contract returned for signature


  • Executed 2020 contract

We appreciate your support in making this change. A grant calendar cycle has been requested for many years. With IntelliGrants being a new system and the very limited timeline to implement this year’s awards, we wanted to be able to provide a more reasonable timeline to review and provide recommendations based on data. This will allow more opportunities to clarify requests and provide a formal opportunity on priority presentations through grant hearings.

The intent of this email is to provide the announcement that amendment information will be sent out on 4/1/2019 and the current payments will be extended by 6 months. In addition, the intent was to announce the proposed timeline for this cycle of applications and the movement to a calendar cycle. As always, we will provide more detailed instructions, dates, and new procedures on the milestones of the timeline as those dates approach.

Thank you,

Kristen Banschbach
Director of Community Corrections

More Book Recommendations (From POPAI Members)

on 3/18/2019 by Karen Oeding

I posted an article with a list of books recently and Members responded with some more. I thought you’d be interested in them.

Never Split the Difference, Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

  • Amazon
  • Summary
  • Check your local library. I found physical, electronic, and audio versions through Monroe County.

“Although not about probation officers, it has a lot of good reading that we can apply to our everyday communications with clients. ”

Please feel free to send me more titles ~ Karen (email:

E-cigarette company Juul is now doing health research, but the findings from its first study are limited

Full Article

Business Insider on 2/23/2019 by Erin Brodwin

  • On Saturday for the first time in its roughly two-year history, e-cigarette company Juul shared some limited data from a clinical trial with the press.
  • In general, that kind of research is considered a key way to protect public health by ensuring a product does not cause undo harm.
  • As a startup, Juul developed a reputation for aggressively marketing its dessert-flavored nicotine products to teens, some of whom may now be at a higher risk of using regular cigarettes, research suggests.
  • Then last fall in a $13 billion deal, Juul became partially owned by the tobacco giant behind Marlboro cigarettes.
  • The part of Juul’s study that was made public suggests its devices could be healthier than traditional burned cigarettes. It does not assess vaping’s overall health impacts or the issue of teen use.

Juul, a former Silicon Valley startup with a reputation for aggressively marketing its dessert-flavored e-cigarettes to teens, is now doing health research.

On Saturday the company, which is now partially owned by tobacco giant and Marlboro maker Altria, presented a poster summary of a clinical trial comparing people who exclusively used its devices against people who smoked traditional cigarettes. Juul presented the poster at an annual meeting for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco and posted it online.

The poster is the first clinical research that Juul has shared publicly. The full Juul-sponsored study has not yet been made public, but Juul is preparing a manuscript for peer-review. Continue reading →

Remembering Wabash Superior Court Judge Amy Cornell

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The Paper of Wabash County on 2/26/2019 by Joseph Slacian

Judge Amy Cornell

A loving wife and mother of three young children.

A woman with a strong faith in God.

A woman who strived to be fair to everyone.

A woman who left a legacy of love and courage.

A woman who was a rising star in the community.

Those are just some of the ways colleagues are remembering Wabash Superior Court Judge Amy Cornell. Judge Cornell, who served in the post for about 15 months, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

She was appointed to the post by Gov. Eric Holcomb in October 2017, replacing then Superior Court Judge Chris Goff, whom Holcomb appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court earlier in the year. She received her robe during a November 2017 ceremony.

“Amy was a smart, fair and dedicated judge, and a rising star in her community,” Gov. Holcomb told The Paper of Wabash County via email. “Our state and judiciary will feel her loss for years to come. Janet and I have moved the Cornell family to the top of our prayer list.”

Justice Goff, in a telephone interview with The Paper, said, “Amy personified all of the qualities you look for in a good judge. She was patient, kind, and had the courage to make tough decisions. More than that, she was simply a great person. She brought out the best in everyone she came into contact with. Even though her time on the bench was short, her service will positively impact many people for many years to come.” Continue reading →

10 must-read books for probation and parole officers

Full Article

Corrections One on 2/26/2019 by C1 Staff

(POPAI Website Administrator’s note: based on the Amazon summary and reviews I’m not all for #2 but the rest are worth checking out.  
Update: I’ve started to hear from members with more titles you might enjoy. I’ll add as I hear more.  ~ Karen)

To be a good officer, you need street smarts; to be a well-rounded officer, you need book smarts, too. With that said, here’s a list of 10 must-read books aimed at probation and parole officers. In here, you should find a wealth of information that will help you do your job not only more efficiently and effectively, but also more safely.

1. Civil Liabilities and Other Legal Issues for Probation/Parole Officers and Supervisors by Rolando V. del Carmen

An examination of the legal liabilities that probation/parole officers may be exposed to. Eleven chapters make up this monograph.

2. The Best Ever Book of Probation Officer Jokes: Lots and Lots of Jokes Specially Repurposed for You-Know by Mark Geoffrey Young

“The Best Ever Book of Probation Officer Jokes” is so unoriginal, it’s original. And, if you don’t burst out laughing from at least one probation officer joke in this book, there’s something wrong with you.

3. When Nobody’s Home: The Truth behind Drug & Alcohol Addiction Through the Eyes of a Probation Officer by Michael S. Oden

“When Nobody’s Home” uncovers and reveals the origins of drug dependency through the lives of individuals who have been impacted by drug dependency anywhere from 5 years to 35 years. Continue reading →

FDA opioids adviser: ‘One thing is clear’ about the ongoing crisis

Full Article

Yahoo Finance on 2/23/2019 by Adriana Belmonte

Opioid abuse in the U.S. is a crisis, so much so that President Trump declared the epidemic to be a public health emergency under federal law in October 2017 and signed bipartisan legislation to address the issue in October 2018.

Dr. Raeford Brown, a pediatric anesthesia specialist at the UK Kentucky Children’s Hospital and chair of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee on Analgesics and Anesthetics, attributes much of the problem to Big Pharma and shoddy regulation by the FDA itself.

“One thing is clear and that is that the motive of the pharmaceutical industry is to make a profit,” Dr. Brown told Yahoo Finance. “And one would hope that in having that profit noted that there would be due consideration to what is ethical and what is moral.” He added that pharmaceutical companies “put pressure on [doctors] to prescribe opioids for reasons that aren’t indicated and because of that, patients get hurt.”

At the same time, according to Brown, the FDA hasn’t “been doing enough to oversee Big Pharma, and I don’t think that they have for a long time.”

A look at U.S. opioid prescribing rates by county, 2017. Darker means more prescriptions. (Graphic: CDC)

‘Pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community‘
Although awareness of the opioid crisis has only been gaining traction in recent years, Brown said that the perverse incentive structure behind the epidemic is something that many have been concerned about since the mid-90s. Continue reading →

POPAI Membership Renewal

The POPAI Membership Year runs from January through December. If you haven’t had the opportunity to renew your membership you may do so in several ways.


By mail

Download and print the Application then mail a check to

Susan Rice Membership Coordinator, POPAI
c/o Miami County Probation
25 Court Street
Peru, IN 46970

Department or custom made invoices are available. Just e-mail Membership Services Coordinator Susan Rice or Website Administrator Karen Oeding at

Does Community Supervision Have a Future?

Full Article

The Crime Report on 03/01/2019 by Isidoro Rodriguez

The nation’s probation and parole systems, usually grouped under the category of Community Supervision, were designed to help people navigate the transition from prison back to civilian life—and become productive, law-abiding citizens.

But they are more likely to make things worse for individuals—and by extension for their families and communities—say experts who believe it’s time for the U.S. to adopt a radically different approach that treats ex-inmates with the dignity they deserve as returning citizens.

“The (U.S.) community supervision population has grown 239 percent since 1980,” says Connie Utada, who leads the community corrections work at Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety Performance Project.

“It’s now over 4.5 million people. Larger than everybody who’s in jail and prison combined.”

In addition, according to research gathered in a joint effort by both Pew Charitable Trusts and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (now Arnold Ventures), nearly a third of the roughly 2.3 million people on probation every year fail to successfully complete their supervision and wind up back in prison again, often not even for committing new crimes.

“In 2016, 350,000 people who were on probation and parole were sent to prison or jail for minor infractions or some type of rule violation,” said Utada.

Instead of helping people start over, it’s a “revolving door that actually denies (former offenders) the ability to reenter the workforce, to get stable housing, or to provide for their families,” she added.

Utada, speaking at a discussion last week at the 14th annual John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime, was joined by Vincent Schiraldi, a senior research analyst at the Columbia Justice Lab and former commissioner of New York City Probation; and Brian Lovins, Assistant Director of the Harris County (Texas) Community Supervision and Corrections Department.

All said state policymakers had generally failed to address the flaws in the community supervision system.

The problem is exemplified by states like Pennsylvania, where a 2017 report by the Council of State Governments Justice Center found that roughly one-third of prisoners in the state are in prison for probation or parole violations.

In New York, a 2018 report from the Columbia University Justice Lab found that, while the number of people imprisoned has dropped by 21 percent, the population being held for technical parole violations, such as missing an appointment with a parole officer, associating with people with felony records, or failing a drug test, has increased by 15 percent.

“Crime’s going down, the number of people on parole is going down, but the number of people being technically violated and returned to incarceration is going up,” said Vincent Schiraldi, author of the report.

The current system of probation and parole used in the U.S. is an ineffective waste of criminal justice resources and a driver of incarceration rather than an alternative to it, the speakers said.

And while some may seek to blame these numbers on some sort of animus on the part of those handling the cases, Schiraldi maintains that the culprit is due more to under funding and bureaucratic apathy than anything truly sinister.

Click here to continue reading the full article.


‘Getting kids out of the system’ Alevizos says county’s juvenile justice system on right track

Full Article

The Michigan City News Dispatch on 3/5/2019 by Kelley Smith

La PORTE – For the second consecutive year, La Porte County has ranked among the top six Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) counties in the state.

And for consistently exceeding JDAI standards, La Porte Circuit Court has been awarded $49,000 in performance grant funds, up from the $38,000 it was awarded in 2018.

“It’s been a passion of mine to reform this process, and we have a lot of good people on board,” said Judge Thomas Alevizos. “It just feels kind of good to know that we’re on the right path and that other people acknowledge this.”

The judge talked about the state of the local juvenile justice system when he took over Circuit Court 12 years ago.

“I inherited a juvenile system that operated, quite frankly, the opposite of how academic research shows it should,” he said. “… We were sending like 50 kids per year to the [Indiana Department of Correction], which is a lot for a county our size. And with a lot of them, they weren’t even letting them finish their program – often putting them into another one that, we found out, had about a 95 percent recidivism rate.”

Additionally, low-risk youth were being detained with high-risk kids, which – according to Alevizos – created an “extremely high likelihood” that the low-risk kids would become delinquents. Continue reading →

Probation sanction affirmed on ‘unduly harsh’ appeal

Full Article

The Indiana Lawyer on 01/02/2019 by Dave Stafford

A man’s argument that the execution of a suspended sentence for a crime he committed while on probation was an unduly harsh sanction failed before the Indiana Court of Appeals.

The COA on Monday affirmed a Bartholomew Circuit Court order requiring Nicholas L. Porter to serve two years that had been suspended to probation after he was convicted of Level 6 felony theft. The order was issued after Porter admitted he had committed a new offense, unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, while on probation. Porter also had missed appointments with his probation officer, which he argued was due to being in jail.

On appeal, Porter argued the sanction against him was unduly harsh and the trial court abused its discretion by failing to credit as a mitigator his admission that he committed another crime while on probation. The COA rejected the argument in a four-page order in Nicholas L. Porter v. State of Indiana, 18A-CR-1931.

“Probation is a matter of grace left to trial court discretion, not a right to which a criminal defendant is entitled,” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote for the panel, citing Prewitt v. State, 878 N.E.2d 184, 188 (Ind. 2007). The panel also noted Porter’s history of property crimes and probation violations.