Indiana Court Times on 10/11/2017 by Indiana Court Times
Two key initiatives undertaken by Trial Court Technology (TCT) are in the spotlight for playing important roles in the sharing of court data with key stakeholders and the public. Data from the Abstract of Judgment application and the Odyssey court case management system is enhancing the amount and quality of data TCT is now able to share with all three branches of government and the public.
The Michigan City News-Dispatch on 10/19/2017 by Ben Davis
When current La Porte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos came to the bench in 2007, he noticed there was a problem concerning the way juvenile cases were being handled.
He immediately went to work fixing the problem.
“Everything was being done wrong,” he said. “When I got here things were bad.”
Now, La Porte County has joined a national program called Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), and the results could not be more positive.
“JDAI is not a program, it’s not a project, it is a systems change,” said Director of Juvenile Court Services Chip Cotman. “So, changing an entire system can take some time. It also has it’s struggles. But we are now starting to see the fruits of our labor. All of our up front work that we have done, is starting to come to fruition.”
Indiana Court Times on 10/11/2017
Our juvenile courts have several innovative tools available to assist children and youth through the Child in Need of Services (CHINS) and delinquency processes. Courts have the new dual status youth screening and assessment tool that allows courts to better identify crossover youth and to coordinate services for youth, regardless of whether they come into juvenile court as a CHINS or a delinquency case.
Indiana Lawyer on 10/20/2017 by Olivia Covington
Directors of community corrections programs do not have authority to revoke inmates’ good time credit as a disciplinary measure because the Indiana Department of Correction has not yet delegated that authority to community corrections programs, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday. The decision reversed rulings in the trial court and Court of Appeals.
That decision in Richard D. Shepard v. State of Indiana, 84S01-1704-CR-190, came after the director of the Vigo County Community Corrections program deprived Richard Shepard of 225 days of good time credit. The deprivation was the result of Shepard, who was convicted on a drug charge, violating several community corrections rules, such as leaving the facility to go to work, but not immediately returning when he was informed that he was not needed at work.
As a result, the Vigo Superior Court ordered Shepard to be recommitted to the Indiana Department of Correction to serve the balance of his 11-year sentence. Though he was entitled to 190 days of good time credit, the trial court determined that the deprivation of the 225 days zeroed out his good time credit balance. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that decision in January, finding the community corrections director did not lack authority to revoke the good time credit.
The New York Times on 10/7/2017 by Katharine Q. Seelye
The rise of drug overdoses in New Hampshire has created a backlog of autopsies. Files in the medical examiner’s office in Concord are piled up in the hallways.
CONCORD, N.H. — In the state morgue here, in the industrial maze of a hospital basement, Dr. Thomas A. Andrew was slicing through the lung of a 36-year-old woman when white foam seeped out onto the autopsy table.
Foam in the lungs is a sign of acute intoxication caused by an opioid. So is a swollen brain, which she also had. But Dr. Andrew, the chief medical examiner of New Hampshire, would not be certain of the cause of death until he could rule out other causes, like a brain aneurysm or foul play, and until after the woman’s blood tests had come back.
With the nation snared in what the government says is the worst drug epidemic in its history, routine autopsies like this one, which take more than two hours, are overtaxing medical examiners everywhere.
“It’s almost as if the Visigoths are at the gates, and the gates are starting to crumble,” Dr. Andrew said. “I’m not an alarmist by nature, but this is not overhyped. It has completely overwhelmed us.” Continue reading →
The Herald Bulletin on 10/1/2017 by Stuart Hirsch
ANDERSON — Lots of opportunities exist for criminal defendants in Indiana to appeal and challenge court rulings and decisions after a trial.
One of the most common reasons for appeal occurs when an offender is accused of violating probation, found guilty, and is sent to the Department of Correction to serve out their jail time.
Only a tiny fraction of the probation violation cases the Indiana Court of Appeals considers are ever successful, however.
Although details and circumstances differ from case-to-case, decisions in probation cases invariably contain statements like this:
“Probation is a matter of grace left to trial court discretion, not a right to which a criminal defendant is entitled.”
“We begin with the premise that there is no right to probation, and a trial court has ‘discretion whether to grant it, under what conditions, and whether to revoke it if conditions are violated.’
Two recent Court of Appeals decisions in Madison County cases illustrate the difficulties offenders face if they pursue an appeal.
PBS on 10/9/2017 by Nsikan Akpan and Julia Griffin
(Note: the article is full of interesting video, if you have a moment and want to dig deeper, follow the link above to the full article.)
Pain and pleasure rank among nature’s strongest motivators, but when mixed, the two can become irresistible. This is how opioids brew a potent and deadly addiction in the brain.
Societies have coveted the euphoria and pain relief provided by opioids since Ancient Sumerians referred to opium poppies as the “joy plant” circa 3400 B.C. But the repercussions of using the drugs were ever present, too. For centuries, Chinese patients swallowed opium cocktails before major surgeries, but by 1500, they described the recreational use of opium pipes as subversive. The Chinese emperor Yung Cheng eventually restricted the use of opium for medical purposes in 1729.
Less than 100 years later, a German chemist purified morphine from poppies, creating the go-to pain reliever for anxiety and respiratory conditions. But the Civil War and its many wounds spawned mass addiction to the drugs, a syndrome dubbed Soldier’s Disease. A cough syrup was concocted in the late 1800s — called heroin — to remedy these morphine addictions.
Today, prescription and synthetic opioids crowd America’s medicine cabinets and streets, driving a modern crisis that may kill half a million people over the next decade. Image by Lead Pipe Productions Pty Ltd
Today, prescription and synthetic opioids crowd America’s medicine cabinets and streets, driving a modern crisis that may kill half a million people over the next decade. Image by Lead Pipe Productions Pty Ltd
Doctors thought the syrup would be “non-addictive.” Instead, it turned into a low-cost habit that spread internationally. More than 70 percent of the world’s opium — 3,410 tons — goes to heroin production, a number that has more than doubled since 1985. Approximately 17 million people around the globe used heroin, opium or morphine in 2016.
Today, prescription and synthetic opioids crowd America’s medicine cabinets and streets, driving a modern crisis that may kill half a million people over the next decade. Opioids claimed 53,000 lives in the U.S. last year, according to preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — more than those killed in motor vehicle accidents.
How did we arrive here? Here’s a look at why our brains get hooked on opioids.
Continue reading →
Berkeley News on 10/3/2017 by Yasmin Anwar
Parole violations are accelerating prison’s revolving door, suggests new study. (Cartoon by J.D. Crowe/Press Register)
Failing a drug test, associating with felons and other technical parole violations are among the key drivers of prison’s “revolving door,” according to new UC Berkeley research.
The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, found that felons who served time behind bars were more likely to return to prison within five years of their release, compared to equivalent offenders who were sentenced to probation.
Moreover, it found that most of their later returns to prison were due to parole violations rather than new crimes.
“This study shows that the revolving door is primarily a product of post-prison community supervision rather than the commission of new felony crimes, as so many people become trapped in the criminal justice system’s accelerating cycle of surveillance and punishment,” said study lead author David Harding, an associate professor of sociology at UC Berkeley.
The results suggest that alternatives to imprisonment for parole violators, such as treatment programs or community service, might slow down prison’s revolving door, he said.
The findings shed new light on contributors to the soaring U.S. prison population which, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report, saw a 700-percent increase between 1970 and 2005.
The full cost of incarceration in the United States has been estimated at over $1 trillion when factoring in prisoners’ diminished wages and job prospects, the socio-economic burden to families and communities as well as government operational costs, according to a Washington University study.
For this new study, researchers at UC Berkeley, the University of Michigan and the State University of New York at Albany analyzed the criminal records of more than 100,000 people sentenced for violent and nonviolent felonies in Michigan between 2003 and 2006, tracking them through September 2013.
The researchers’ statistical methods enabled them to determine the extent to which being sentenced to prison rather than probation increased the chances of a future felony conviction or prison term.
The results also showed a small decrease in crime during the time that the offenders were behind bars, and that after their release, they committed slightly fewer crimes than felons who had been sentenced to probation.
“One implication is that mass imprisonment is giving us less crime prevention than we might have assumed,” Harding said.
Parole violations include failing to complete certain programs, breaking curfew, failing a drug or alcohol test, associating with other felons, moving home or leaving the state without permission.
While not felony crimes per se, these breaches are subject to prison terms and, as this latest study shows, may play an integral role in the growth of prison populations, researchers said.
In addition to Harding, co-authors of the study are Jeffrey Morenoff and Anh Nguyen at the University of Michigan, and Shawn Bushway at the State University of New York at Albany.
While images of men in white robes and torches might evoke feelings of a bygone era, the White Nationalist movement is alive and well — if you know where to look and what you’re looking for.
Join Detective Brent Smith as he shares a rare, “behind the scenes” view of the White Nationalist movement in the 21st century. Based on his years of under cover work in this arena, Brent will share practical information justice professionals need to know in this changing climate, including:
- A summary of the history and ideology of White Nationalism,
- An overview of white power / white nationalist ideology,
- A review of the key players in the White Nationalist movement: past and present,
- and details about significant symbols law enforcement and justice professionals need to be aware of as they interact with the public, suspects, probationers, and the incarcerated.
Detective Brent Smith is a 16-year veteran of the Mesa Police Department and is currently assigned to the Technology Operations Group as well as the ATF Violent Crime Task Force.
Detective Smith’s past assignments include time spent in the patrol bureau as well as on special assignment to the Homicide Unit, the Gang Unit, and the Career Criminal Squad. Detective Smith was one of the founding detectives for the East Valley Gang and Criminal Information Fusion Center, where he helped to establish an information-sharing network with other local agencies. Detective Smith is the lead instructor for gang training for the Mesa Police Department and has instructed for several local agencies.
Detective Smith is considered a regional expert on skin heads and white power ideology. Detective Smith has been interviewed by various media outlets regarding his knowledge of gangs and has been featured as an instructor at forums such as the Arizona Gang Investigator Association’s annual gang conference and the Know Gangs annual gang conference in Las Vegas. Detective Smith was presented the Anti-Defamation League’s 2014 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award for his work and dedication.
About the Justice Clearinghouse:
With more than 20,000 justice and public safety professionals in our community, The Justice Clearinghouse is the first organization to espouse an inter-disciplinary approach to understanding and resolving the challenges affecting our justice and public safety arena.
As a peer-to-peer educational environment, we offer a year-round “virtual conference” for budget-challenged and time-starved justice professionals to learn from the thought leaders, innovators, researchers, and street-wise, experienced professionals in their fields, without the cost, travel, or time out of the office.
The justice arena is an integrated profession
Law enforcement works in partnership with prosecutors. Prosecutors rely on forensics professionals. Courtroom professionals are impacted by the cases prosecutors bring forth. Incarceration, Probation and Parole staff see the results of the investigative process. Academic, professional researchers evaluate and provide evidence-based recommendations for improvement.
Each segment of our community is important: each relies on the other for superior professionalism. But all too often, local area departments and divisions simply do not have the resources to provide all the training they would like, nor the ability to fund staff to attend national conferences.
The Indianapolis Star on 10/3/2017 by Ryan Martin
As Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry stood at a podium Thursday to announce his office’s pursuit of the death penalty against Jason Dane Brown, he read four names.
David Moore. Rod Bradway. Perry Renn.
And now Aaron Allan.
All four were police officers who have been killed during Curry’s seven years as the county prosecutor.
At Thursday’s press conference Curry said he was sending a message in seeking the death penalty: Attacks against police officers will not be tolerated.
Recent history suggests that the death penalty case could result in a plea agreement. That is what happened in the two other police shootings in which the suspects were arrested.
During a press conference Thursday, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announces his office will seek the death penalty against Jason Brown, who is accused of killing Southport Police Lt. Aaron Allan in July. Southport Police Chief Tom Vaughn also spoke during the press conference. (Photo: Ryan Martin/IndyStar)
Thomas Hardy, who pleaded guilty to Moore’s 2011 murder, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Major Davis, who pleaded guilty to killing Renn in a 2014 gun battle, received the same sentence.
In the Bradway shooting, the suspect was killed.
Curry said the Moore and Renn cases shouldn’t portend what could happen in the case against Brown.
“In any given case, we do not know what path it will take,” Curry said Thursday.
Moore’s family wanted resolution, he said, leading to the agreement with Hardy.
As for Davis, Curry said there were “significant mental health issues” that complicated the prospect of the death penalty.
Continue reading →
The Texas Tribune on 10/02/2017 by Jolie McCullough
The next chapter in Harris County’s saga over bail practices is set to play out in federal court Tuesday morning, and officials involved in pretrial processes throughout Texas are holding their breath.
The state’s most populous county is involved in a complicated fight over how its bail procedures impact poor misdemeanor defendants awaiting trial. A federal lawsuit questions the constitutionality of the county’s pretrial system, where arrestees who can’t afford their bail bonds regularly sit in jail — often until their cases are resolved days or weeks later — while similar defendants who have cash are released.
Bail is a legal mechanism to ensure defendants appear in court for their hearings. The most common practice is secured money bail, where judicial officers set a bond amount that must be paid by defendants in order to be released. The bond can either be paid to the court in full and then refunded after all court appearances are made, or, more commonly, paid through a bond company that charges a nonrefundable percentage — usually around 10 percent — but will front the total cost.
Last year, inmates filed suit against Harris County, saying they were wrongfully detained in jail simply because they were too poor to pay their bail bonds. The lawsuit covers all indigent defendants arrested on misdemeanors, like driving with an invalid license or shoplifting.
In April, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal issued a groundbreaking ruling, calling Harris County’s bail practices unconstitutional and ordering the release of almost all misdemeanor defendants from jail within 24 hours of arrest, regardless of their ability to pay the bond amount. The county, which has implemented many of its own reforms since the suit’s filing, has appealed the injunction at the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where oral arguments will be heard in New Orleans on Tuesday.
WFYI on 9/28/2017 by Barbara Brosher
Most people facing criminal charges in Indiana can await their trials outside of jail – if they have the ability to post bail. Indiana’s Constitution defines bail as monetary, but a state Supreme Court rule will move away from that longstanding practice and allow counties to release some people without requiring a bail payment.
The rule is already in practice as part of a pilot program in several counties and will eventually go statewide. Some say it’s the first step toward significant bail reform in Indiana.
Criminal Rule 26 asks counties to consider risk instead of money
Juard Barnes knows firsthand how sitting in jail for a few months can impact a person’s life.
“I lost my apartment in that time period,” Barnes says. “So many things was lost, credibility was lost, opportunities to make money were lost.”
He was behind on child support when officers put him in jail and had to come up with $3,000 bail to be released. Barnes was able to scrape together the money with the help of his brother but says many people in Indiana don’t have that ability.
“How many people can come up with $3,000?” he says.
Barnes is part of the Indianapolis Congregational Action Network, which has been pushing for bail reform for years. He’s applauding the Indiana Supreme Court for its work on issuing a rule last year that will lead to changes across the state.
“When you deal with bail reform, you’re talking about people who are the most marginalized going to jail, not being able to make bail, sitting there for a week, two weeks, six weeks, sitting there coming out having lost their jobs, having lost their housing,” he says.
The new guidelines for bail in Indiana are outlined in Criminal Rule 26 and urge counties to consider someone’s risk when determining their pre-trial release instead of focusing on money. The goal of the rule, in part, is to “eliminate the unfair and often protracted incarceration of poor people who don’t have the resources to purchase a bail bond or pay a bail deposit.”
“So we’re trying to get more information to judges to make more informed decisions at the time of pre-trial release, that it doesn’t just come down to if they’ve got the funding so that low-level violent offenders won’t serve significant time pretrial before they’re convicted,” says Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court Loretta Rush.
Criminal Rule 26 by Indiana Public Media News on Scribd
Counties testing pre-trial assessment through pilot program
Several counties across the state are already putting the rule into practice through a pilot program, including Bartholomew County.
“It’s not just a technical change where we change a process, we’re changing a mindset,” says Assistant Chief Probation Officer Kim Maus. Continue reading →
The Indiana Lawyer on 10/4/2017 by Marilyn Odendahl
At the dedication of Terre Haute’s new federal courthouse in November 2009, then-Judge Larry McKinney of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana took a swipe at those who said it couldn’t be done.
The Southern District lost its presence in western Indiana when its Art Deco style courthouse on Seventh and Cherry streets was sold to Indiana State University. McKinney, not wanting the federal judges to exit from the region where the nation’s only federal death row is located, went to the authorities in Washington, D.C., and insisted another courthouse be built.
He was part of a team that included Southern District Bankruptcy Court Judge Frank Otte and Clerk Laura Briggs, along with then-Sen. Evan Bayh. Together, they led the successful push for a new federal courthouse.
On the day of the celebration, McKinney used his remarks to remind everyone that sometimes what seems impossible is possible. He said the building’s existence was “a slap in the face of cynics and naysayers and nabobs of negativism.”
McKinney, described as brilliant, dedicated, always ready with a joke, and a lover of fine single-malt Scotch, died Sept. 20 at age 73. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, two sons and several grandchildren.
“He was just a funny, funny man,” Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said. “He was a little naughty and irreverent, which we enjoyed. He taught us not to be too serious.”
A 1969 graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, McKinney was nominated to the Southern District by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed in 1987. He served as chief judge from 2001 through 2007, and he assumed senior status on his 65th birthday, July 4, 2009.
During his 30-year career on the federal bench, McKinney handled thousands of cases.
His most memorable included an attempt by the city of Baltimore, Maryland, to pluck the Colts name for its new football team. In Indianapolis Colts, Inc. v. Metropolitan Baltimore Football Club, 34 F.3d 410 (7th Cir. 1994), McKinney issued a preliminary injunction that prevented the Canadian Football League’s new Maryland team from calling itself the “Baltimore CFL Colts.”
His favorite sport was baseball, always cheering for the Chicago White Sox, and once hurling the opening pitch across home plate at an Indianapolis Indians game. After Magnus-Stinson successfully interviewed for a magistrate judge position in the Southern District, McKinney told her that she had “hit it out of the park.”
He hung a framed picture of Detroit Pistons’ center Bill Laimbeer to help reduce irritating behavior. Whenever the attorneys, huddled in his chambers, began bellyaching, McKinney would point to Laimbeer, who had earned a reputation as a chronic complainer, and admonish, “No whining.”
“He was one of a kind,” said Southern District Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker. “People just loved him and are going to miss him terribly.” Continue reading →
Evansville Courier and Press (original article Indy Star) on 10/5/2017 by Kaitlin L Lange
Even after excise police said they would no longer confiscate a cannabis extract from Indiana stores, they continued to threaten to punish retailers that carried the product.
At least twice after the state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Commission announced the moratorium on Aug. 12, excise police, the agency’s law enforcement arm, cited stores for potential violations for selling products containing cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive substance found in marijuana plants.
Two days later, a store in Lake County was given a notice of violation for CBD products the excise police had seized in January, records obtained by IndyStar show.
In September, a Shell gas station on the southside of Indianapolis was issued a warning for its supply of “Kush Cakes” that are “made with CBD.”
When asked for clarification on the state’s policy after those two incidents, agency spokeswoman Heather Lynch issued a one-sentence, saying the warning and violation were “issued in error and have been withdrawn.”
Lynch offered no explanation as to why the errors occurred.
The two incidents came after Lynch said in August the the ATC would no longer confiscate CBD products “unless the products clearly violate Indiana law.” That led many store owners to re-stock their shelves with the product.
The moratorium came after a sudden state-wide crackdown on the product in May that resulted in the seizure of more than 3,000 products from about 60 stores throughout the state.
IndyStar first reported those statewide busts, showing they occurred amid mass confusion over the state’s complicated CBD laws.
In April, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law that allows people diagnosed with treatment-resistant epilepsy to possess cannabidiol as part of a new state registry. However, the CBD must contain less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound in marijuana that produces a high.
The excise police thought the new law made it clear that possession of CBD for other purposes was a crime, but some lawmakers and Indiana State Police, a different state law enforcement branch, have said the substance already was legal under a 2014 law that removed industrial hemp products from the state’s controlled substance statute.
When questions about the legality of the CBD busts surfaced, state officials, including a spokeswoman for the governor, said the busts would stop and the seized products would be held until the “legal analysis pursuant to Indiana law is complete.”
The violation issued to Smoke & Vape in New Chicago resulted from CBD e-liquids seized in January. The products later tested positive for cannabidiol which “is considered a controlled substance,” an officer told the store owner when he gave him the violation in August.
The Shell gas station received a written warning for having a box of “Kush Cakes,” a brownie made with “hemp protein” the excise officer found beneath the store’s register.
“If an Excise Officer were to return after the five days and… the Kush Cakes were still in the store, then the warning would become a violation,” an officer wrote in his incident report.
Lynch said the ATC had informed the two store owners that their citation and warning were withdrawn. Gurwinder Singh, the owner of the Shell gas station, however, said he hasn’t received any notice that the warning was a mistake, and he already returned the CBD product to his wholesaler.
Store owners have largely been left in the dark on the issue, even as some have opted to put CBD products back on their shelves after news of the moratorium broke.
The recent ATC “errors” worry Happy Daze Smoke Shop store owner Jeff Shelton.
“We definitely feel like at any time the rug could e pulled back from under us,” said Shelton said. “Until they come out and give a definitive answer, we’re definitely going to feel on edge and worried they could come in and take the products.”
Even though the citation and violation were just mistakes, the agency could change its stance on the substance once a legal analysis of Indiana law is complete. Attorney General Curtis Hill also is set to issue a formal opinion on the product’s legality.
Brandy Barrett, the mother of a 10-year-old boy who uses CBD to treat his severe epilepsy, sees the gaffe as just the latest in a string of ATC mistakes and confusion over state law.
“Obviously this goes to show there is a real issue going on in the state,” Barrett said.
She said its discouraging and disheartening to learn the ATC is causing more confusion after issuing a clear statement with its moratorium.
on September 19, 2017
Probation representatives discussed the impact of the revised Indiana criminal code (known as HEA 1006) at the September 19, 2017 meeting of the Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code.
Representatives of Probation Departments:
Linda Brady, Chief Probation Officer of Monroe County Probation Department and Committee member, described the potential drop in court revenue that could occur by permitting certain nonviolent criminal defendants to be released without paying cash bonds.
Deputy Chief Probation Officer Troy Hatfield, Monroe County Probation Department, described Monroe County’s pretrial program. He provided additional statistical information about the Monroe County Probation Department (Exhibit 2).
Sarah Lochner, Chief Probation Officer of Wabash County, described the new positions that her department has added because of new funding for community corrections and probation programs.
Christine Kerl, Chief Probation Officer of Marion County Probation Department, described the problems with housing pretrial defendants in Marion County jails and the additional staff she has been able to hire because of the community corrections funding increase.
Alan Davis, a recovering addict, described the assistance that he has received from programs and medication funded in part by the Recovery Works Program.
See the probation presentations at the following hyperlink. Scroll to Wednesday September 19, 2017 Part 1. Probation remarks start at the 1:44 mark of Part 1.
Corrections and Criminal Code September 19, 2017 Part 1
- DOC HEA 1006 Fiscal Analysis Year 2017
- Monroe County Probation Statistics
- Update of Jail Survey by Office of Judicial Administration
- Pretrial Pilot Counties and Problem Solving Court Programs in Indiana
- Responses from Sheriff Clark to questions from previous meeting
- Dearborn County Jail Chemical Addictions Program
- LSA Staff Report on Criminal Justice Funding