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Indiana Criminal Justice Association Awards

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The Michigan City News-Dispatch on October 8, 2016 by Richard Chambers


Corissa Strader

MICHIGAN CITY — In addition to the already-announced award to Detective Marty Corley as Officer of the Year, the Indiana Criminal Justice Association gave two surprise awards to people from La Porte County on Wednesday.

The association gave these and others awards to criminal justice professionals from across Indiana at its 83rd annual conference at Blue Chip Casino.

Greta Friedman, judge of La Porte County Superior Court 4 and part of the Problem Solving Court team, was awarded Judge of the Year.

Corissa Strader, coordinator of the La Porte County Problem Solving Court, was awarded Probation Officer of the Year.

Justices Say Inmates Can’t Sue Private Employer for Unpaid Wages During Incarceration

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The Indiana Lawyer on 10/12/2016

The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed Wednesday a trial court’s decision to dismiss a complaint seeking unpaid wages brought by inmates who claim they were underpaid while working for a private company while they were in prison.

During their incarceration at the Indiana Department of Correction’s Correctional Industrial Facility, inmates Chuck Adams and Charles Howard were permitted to work at a privately owned brake shop operated by Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems LLC on the property of the industrial facility.

However, Adams and Howard claim they were not paid the “prevailing wage” during their employment and, therefore, filed a complaint against Meritor for unpaid wages. Indiana Code requires that offenders who are employed by private companies be paid at least the prevailing wage for the type of work they are engaged in, including wage increases for overtime.

Meritor filed a motion to dismiss the wage claims, arguing that state code does not create a private right of action. The Marion Superior Court granted the motion to dismiss, prompting Adams and Howard to appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals, which reversed the dismissal in a split decision.

In its reversal, the appellate court wrote that Adams and Howard did have a private right of action and that private enterprises are subject to the Wage Payment Statute.

However, Court of Appeals Judge Melissa May dissented, writing that the Marion Superior Court was correct in its decision to dismiss the wage claims because Indiana Code does not explicitly create a private right of action for offenders.

In its Wednesday per curiam opinion, the Indiana Supreme Court agreed with May’s dissent. The high court granted transfer in the case of Chuck W. Adams, Charles E. Howard, et al. v. ArvinMeritor, Inc., et al., 49S02-1610-PL-532 and affirmed the trial court’s decision to dismiss the claims. The court also summarily affirmed other parts of the Court of Appeals’ opinions addressing other claims brought by Adams.


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Punxsy Weekday News Headlines on 09/29/16

The rash of “clown” sightings around the state and the country finds Knox Boro police not clowning around.

According to our newspartner, Knox Boro Police have issued a warning following several reports of clown sightings within the borough.

They note they have received several complaints of clowns within the borough and have issued a statement which reads in part that:

”We are concerned for the safety of the community as well as the actors involved … Due to recent criminal acts by actors dressed as clowns in Pennsylvania and surroundings areas, the Knox Borough Police Department is requesting any actors thinking of dressing as a clown in an attempt to scare people to refrain from doing so.”

Knox authorities say all complaints called into the Knox Borough Police Department will be taken seriously and follow-up action will be initiated.

According to the release, Knox PD plans on increasing patrols within the borough for the safety of the community.

They stress the fact that none of the clowns within the borough have attempted to injure anyone, but they also warn pranksters, that police don’t want to see any injuries because of a prankster’s idea of a “harmless joke.”

Anyone with questions or concerns pertaining to clowns within the borough is asked to contact Knox Borough Police Department at 814-797-1100.

Abuse against women: The secret no one wants to talk about

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Indy Star on 10/4/16 by Maureen C. Gilmer ,

‘We keep this issue of domestic violence as if it was a lover in our bedrooms. No one wants to talk about it.’

The speaker asked for a show of hands. How many in the audience had suffered abuse? First, one hand, then another and another. A quick glance around the room revealed maybe 20 hands raised, representing about one-fifth of the audience.

This was a forum on violence against women and girls, so some might say the audience wasn’t representative of the general population. But multiple studies indicate that one in five women have been or will be victims of abuse, including rape, in their lifetime.

Josina Machel is one of those statistics. The daughter of former Mozambique president Samora Machel and stepdaughter of former South Africa president Nelson Mandela survived a brutal assault by someone she knew. She came to Indianapolis this week to address a forum hosted by the Desmond Tutu Center and Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach.

Machel told how she was violently attacked by a trusted companion, leaving her blind in one eye, but also emboldened to speak out on the issue of violence against women and girls in her country and around the world.

“I don’t remember feeling threatened or anything that said life was about to change (before the attack),” she said, describing how the first blow to her head occurred after a disagreement while she was riding in a car with the man. She screamed as he struck again, this time the blow landing in her right eye, then a third to the back of the head.

Though stunned and bleeding, Machel was able to open the car door and run. And that started her journey into the world of domestic violence, she said. “My first lesson was, ‘Once instinct says run, you run,'” because you may not be able to tell the story if you wait.

Her next lesson was that even for a woman of privilege, justice moves slowly.

“The system fails us time and time again,” she said. “This is a human rights violation. Why are we so quiet about it — this little secret inside our homes? We keep this issue of domestic violence as if it was a lover in our bedrooms. No one wants to talk about it.”

That reality is what brought together 100-some invited guests representing advocacy groups, refugee organizations, the legal system, schools and local government among them.

Waseema Ali, managing director of the Desmond Tutu Center at Christian Theological Seminary, says the roots of violence against women lie in the “persistent discrimination” allowed to flourish in communities, including college campuses, businesses and private homes.

“Violence will not stop because you and I are convened here,” she told the audience, adding it will take education, advocacy, funding, courage and strength to force changes in laws and in thinking.

To that end, Ali, Machel and other speakers challenged the audience to speak up about violence against women, about human trafficking, about gender inequity.

“In speaking out, you are encouraging other people to speak out, you are encouraging them to act,” Machel said.

Sonia DiOrio, 17, brought members of the Social Justice Club at International School of Indiana to Monday’s forum, hoping to tap into the energy of the speakers and audience to promote activism in her circles.

The high school senior said she and her friends want to help women and other marginalized people but didn’t really know how. Whether it be through writing, art, volunteering or other community engagement, “these speakers have shown me I can do something. We have a voice.”

Mady Neal, also a senior, has the same passion for social justice and gender issues, saying, “We need to speak out against sexual assault and domestic abuse.” Neal said the violence on college campuses “is astounding and terrifying for those of us entering that realm.”

For the handful of men in the audience, including the Rev. David Hampton, deputy mayor of Indianapolis, the challenge was clear:

“Men are the ones who help to shape the generation of boys so they can learn that strong men are gentlemen,” said Cynthia Prime, co-founder of Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach. “We can speak for ourselves,” she said, but it takes men communicating with men to change the male culture. “You can change the thinking. It has to come from you.”

Prime said too often the world is deprived of the talents and abilities of women who are too wounded because of incidents in their lives that often go unreported and unaddressed. “It’s right here among us today. The pattern of destructive, corrosive, violent behavior must be changed, and change begins here. Even embryonic change begins with the dialogue at your tables.”

Hampton accepted that challenge during a panel discussion highlighting public and private efforts to address gender inequity, bullying, domestic violence and human trafficking.

Conceding that men are raised to be aggressive, to not show emotion and sometimes to be sexist, Hampton said, “It’s gonna take men to step up,” to stop injustice on many fronts.

Indiana Rep. Christina Hale, who is running for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket with John Gregg, also participated on the panel, lamenting the lack of diversity in the state’s General Assembly, “We’ll only have a healthier government when we have more people of different backgrounds represented.”

Others speaking were: Gail Masondo, counselor to victims of abuse and trafficking; Kirat Sandhu, who works with the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and is a sexual assault survivor; Jennifer Thuma, deputy attorney general with Indiana’s Victim Services and Outreach Division; Darlene Bradley, senior special agent with Homeland Security; and Sareen Lambright Dale, assistant director of Sexual Assault Education and Prevention at IUPUI.

Bell v. State: Trial court must consider defendant’s ability to pay before entering restitution order

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Indiana Supreme Court on October 3, 2016

Bell v. State, No. 49S02-1609-CR-00501, __ N.E.3d __ (Ind., Sept. 29, 2016).

A trial court must consider a defendant’s ability to pay before entering a restitution order after hearing testimony of inability to pay without rebutting evidence.


Indiana Code § 35-38-2-2.3(a)(6) allows a trial court to order a defendant to pay restitution to a victim as a condition of probation, but the defendant’s ability to pay must be considered before the order to pay restitution is entered. …

On August 4, 2014, Cynthia Bell arrived at the home of Kalencia Kirkland at 4:30 a.m. and began banging on the windows and doors of Kirkland’s apartment. When Kirkland looked out of the window of her home, she saw Bell beating and banging on her rental car, a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. …

Bell was subsequently charged with Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief. The case proceeded to a bench trial, and Bell was found guilty as charged. Bell was sentenced to 180 days, with 178 days suspended. After sentencing, the trial court held a separate hearing to determine the amount of restitution Bell owed. …

Bell then testified as to her ability to pay. Bell explained that she had not worked in over twenty years and supports herself on monthly disability checks (SSI). Her monthly checks are $730.00. She uses that money to pay her rent, light bill, phone bill, dog expenses, food, and her own expenses. She has no money left over at the end of the month, and she also relies on food pantries. Bell has no money in the bank and no other assets. Neither the State nor the trial court asked Bell any further questions about her financial situation. The Court ultimately concluded that Bell owed $932.30 in restitution and had the ability to pay in weekly installments of $20.00 or monthly installments of approximately $80.00. The payment of restitution was ordered as a condition of Bell’s probation.

Bell appealed the ordered restitution, arguing that it exceeds what she can or will be able to pay, which is the standard set out in Indiana Code § 35-38-2-2.3(a)(6). …

A majority of the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, concluding that, based upon the record, it was not an abuse of discretion to determine that Bell could pay $20.00 per week or $80.00 per month in restitution.Bell v. State, No. 49A02-1504-CR-000234 (Ind. Ct. App. February 2, 2016). …

This Court now grants transfer, thereby vacating the opinion of the Court of Appeals. Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A).


The Trial Court Abused Its Discretion by Failing to Consider Defendant’s Actual Ability to Pay


Hamilton Co. inmates pour into empty juvenile justice center

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CBS4Indy on September 21, 2016 by James Gherardi

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – Due to severe overcrowding, inmates are pouring out of the Hamilton County jail. As a result, inmates are being housed now down the road, in the virtually-empty juvenile justice center.

The nearly $30 million, state-of-the-art Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center, built in 2007, is virtually empty today.

“You cannot sit around and wait for the issue to come to you. If you do, you will lose a lot of kids,” said Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge, Steve Nation.

The juvenile detention facility was built to house 76 inmates. On any given day though, there are typically less than ten.

“When the kids get to you, whether they be adult kids or kids in the juvenile setting, certain things have already happened to get them before you,” said Nation.

Nation says one major reason is the success of the county’s Youth Assistance Program.

“What we tried to do was reach back and reach to these kids before they got into trouble and that’s what the whole emphasis was,” he said.

A program that catches kids by having teachers and guidance counselors identify at-risk youth and get them the help they need before they fall into the system is paying off.