Nominations are being accepted until August 5, 2019 for three awards presented during our Fall Conference in French Lick.
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 →
Indiana Lawyer on 7/19/2019 by Dave Stafford
Despite recent changes to the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct meant to aid pro se litigants’ ability to be heard in court, an appellate panel ruled Friday that an inmate’s suit against a judge, a clerk and others was so confusing and repetitive that it was rightly dismissed.
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the Sullivan Circuit Court’s dismissal of Kevin Martin v. Hon. Hugh Hunt, et al., 18A-CT-2595, noting Kevin Martin’s handwritten complaint at some points was barely legible, and his arguments were even less decipherable.
After Martin had a disagreement over a copying request with Indiana Department of Correction librarian Brenda Hinton, he sued her, DOC employee Charles Dugan, Sullivan Circuit Judge Hugh Hunt and court clerk Peggy Goodman, demanding to be released from prison due to his pain and suffering. After the defendants moved to dismiss, Martin filed an amended complaint.
“On August 29, 2018, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint, arguing Judge Hunt had judicial immunity; the court lacked jurisdiction to release Martin from prison as requested; the same case was pending before the Indiana Court of Appeals; and the action was contrary to public policy,” Judge Melissa May wrote.
Special Judge Christopher Newton dismissed Martin’s case from Sullivan Circuit Court on those grounds while also finding “the same case was pending before the Indiana Supreme Court on a petition to transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals; and ‘[b]ecause the plaintiff is engaging in serial litigation, suing those involved in orders in previous cases with which he does not agree, this action is contrary to public policy and must, for that reason, be dismissed,’” May wrote.
The COA affirmed the dismissal in a six-page order Friday, concluding, “Based on Martin’s multiple violations of the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure, we are unable to ascertain his argument in this matter, and thus any issues he has attempted to present are waived.”
The panel noted Martin failed to make a cogent argument, and in a footnote pointed to revisions to a May amendment to Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 2.2, which gives judges discretion to facilitate litigants, including those representing themselves, to be heard. “Unfortunately,” May wrote, “…the deficiencies in Martin’s brief are so numerous and egregious that we are unable to ascertain his argument.”
The panel also found Martin’s case was rightly dismissed under I.C. 34-58-1-2, governing dismissal of suits that are frivolous, present claims upon which relief may not be granted, name those immune from liability or other reasons.
WISHTV 8 on 7/18/2019 by WLFA/CNN Newsource
BOONE COUNTY, W. Va. (WFLA/CNN) – Police in West Virginia say they’re seeing a dangerous trend in Boone county.
Authorities say some drug abusers are using wasp spray as an alternative form of meth and the practice may have contributed to several overdoses.
On Friday, stores in Boone County reported selling nearly 30 cans of the spray.
Physical effects of using wasp spray include erratic behavior and extreme swelling and redness of the hands and feet.
“From what we’re being told, if you use it, you know, you might use it one or twice and be fine, but the third time when your body hits that allergic reaction, it can kill you,” Sgt. Charles Sutphin said.
The challenge is how to treat these symptoms and prevent the use of this legal, cheap product for harm.
“It’s a cheap fix, and you don’t know what their overall result of their usage of this is going to be,” Sutphin said.
14 News on 5/23/2019 by Chellsie Brown
Organizations team up to bring awareness to child sexual abuse in southwest Indiana
See original article for video.
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – Several organizations teamed up to bring awareness to the rising issue of child sexual abuse in southwest Indiana.
Authorities, survivors, and organizations that work to help victims all listened to each others stories.
Across Indiana there were more than 18,000 reported cases of child sexual abuse in 2018. About 700 of those cases came from southern Indiana.
Some signs you can look for in kids is unusual secrecy, seductive behavior, and sudden drop in school performance.
Officials say the most important thing is no more secrets.
The Indiana Lawyer on 7/15/2019 by Dave Stafford
A convicted robber whose community corrections placement was revoked was denied due process because a court failed to consider his competency after evaluations had been ordered, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled
News 4 Jax on 7/8/2019 by Joy Purdy
(Video in original article.)
FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Victims of domestic violence often have little more than a piece of paper to protect them from their attackers.
But some local agencies — like the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office — are working to change that.
Flagler County has been using a GPS ankle monitoring system for domestic violence offenders since last November. A judge can make wearing the monitor a condition of a suspect’s release on bond, and the rules of the monitors are designed to protect accusers.
Roy Carlisi landed himself in an ankle monitor last month after he was charged with domestic battery and assault. Deputies said he attacked his wife, knocking out some of her teeth. Continue reading →
wlfi.com on 6/19/2019 by Anna Darling
A new report said Indiana’s numbers are down more than 35% since 2013. Nationally, that average number is only at 33%.
INDIANA, (WLFI) – After years of a constant uphill battle against the opioid epidemic, Indiana is seeing some positive change. New numbers from the American Medical Association show Indiana’s opioid prescription drug rates are going down faster than the national average.
The report said Indiana’s numbers are down more than 35% since 2013. Nationally, that average number is only at 33%.
“It’s a very exciting thing for me to see that Indiana has had a higher impact than the national average in the last few years,” said Tricia Lohr, Pharmacy Manager at IU Health Frankfort.
“Governor Holcomb called for an all hands on deck response to this,” said Indiana’s Drug Czar, Jim McClelland. His job is to lead the state against substance abuse. He was the first person appointed to this new position created by Governor Holcomb in 2017.
He said just in 2018, Indiana had a healthy decline in opioid prescription rates.
“In 2018 we saw a 12% decrease in the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed,” he said. “We also saw a 23% decrease in the number of opioid pills dispensed, which means less of these pills are floating around.”
Something that both Lohr and McClelland agreed is a big source of fuel to the flame that is the opioid epidemic. McClelland said doctors have gotten in the habit of prescribing too many opioid pills.
“A friend of mine had an 18-year-old daughter get her wisdom teeth out and the dentist routinely prescribed 30 pills,” he said. “My friend said he thinks she only took two and she didn’t need anymore.”
It’s those extra pills laying around that often times end up in the wrong hands.
“Just as a parent, the decrease in opiate prescribing to me is also very important,” said Lohr. “A lot of kids that get started on drugs, the way they get it the first time is from a friend or a parent’s medicine cabinet.”
She said IU Health Frankfort has seen its own successful progress in reducing these numbers. The hospital has seen a 90% decrease in opioid prescriptions coming from their emergency room doctors.
“They’re prescribing less and less for something like your wisdom teeth removal and other surgeries because they don’t want people to have leftovers in their cabinets,” she said. Continue reading →
Indiana Lawyer on 7/10/2019 by Olivia Covington
Across the country, the number of youth who are incarcerated is down.
In 2017, 43,580 minors were incarcerated, a 4 percent drop from 2016. Compare those numbers with 2001, when 104,219 juveniles were detained – 58 percent more than in 2017.
Juvenile incarceration peaked in 2000, according The Sentencing Project, and has been on a downward decline nationally since. Indiana is following the trend, now housing fewer than 1,600 juveniles in residential facilities, compared to more than 3,200 in 2001, according to the Department of Justice.
This decline, juvenile justice experts say, represents both a policy shift and a shift in mindset. The latter actually came first – stakeholders began thinking of juvenile justice as a public safety issue, and that has translated into policies designed to rehabilitate young offenders rather than punish them.
Of course, advocates say there are more reforms they’d still like to see. But they’re also applauding this mindset shift as positive for juveniles and for the public welfare.
The decline in juvenile incarceration aligns with recent research showing detaining juveniles does more harm than good. Most literature now accepts the proposition that human brains are not fully developed until the mid-20s, so detaining minors can have a negative impact on their minds, especially for young people who have mental illnesses.
Indeed, during the 2019 session of the Indiana General Assembly, lawmakers attempted to pass legislation that would allow children as young as 12 to be waived into adult court for attempted murder. The legislation came in response to the May 2018 shooting at Noblesville West Middle School – where the 12-year-old shooter could not be charged as an adult for wounding a teacher and a classmate – but the legislation received serious opposition from juvenile justice advocates. Eventually, it was defeated. Continue reading →
Washington Post on 7/7/2019 by Associated Press
VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) – Officials in Porter County and 10 other Indiana counties are testing a risk-assessment program to determine whether people who have been arrested should be required to post bail while awaiting trial.
Melanie Golumbeck, Porter County’s chief adult probation officer, said Indiana’s pretrial release program that launched in March 2017 evaluates jail inmates’ ability to pay. The program is part of a nationwide effort to decrease legal inequalities that allow people with money to bond out of jail, while those of limited means remain behind bars. The evaluation determines the likelihood the inmates will return to court for hearings or reoffend during the pretrial period, she said.
Douglas Lang, supervisor of the Porter County pretrial program, said the assessments usually occur within 24 hours of arrest.
The program is set to go statewide next year.
Porter County conducted around 600 assessments during each of the pilot program’s first two years, and has conducted 390 assessments so far this year, Golumbeck said. People accused of misdemeanors and felonies are considered by the program, the (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
The Star on 7/2/2019 by Kathryn Bassett
AUBURN — DeKalb County has received grant funds totaling $142,579 for the DeKalb County’s Veterans’ Treatment Court and Family Recovery Court programs, the DeKalb County Council heard Monday.
Assistant Chief Probation Officer and Veterans’ Court coordinator Ryan Hull announced the grants and outlined how the funds would be used during Monday’s county council meeting.
The Veterans’ Court program received $69,819 from the Indiana Supreme Court through the Indiana Office of Court Services. Of that, $49,459 will be used for personnel expenses and $20,360 will be used for non-personnel expenses. The grant will run July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020.
“We are very inspired to have received such a grant and the opportunity to expand our program by 10 veterans, which will raise our capacity to 20 veterans, through the hiring of a new probation officer to assist with the supervision of our participants,” Hull said in a report to the council and DeKalb County Commissioners.
DeKalb County’s new Family Recovery Court program received $72,760 from the Indiana Supreme Court, through the Indiana Office of Court Services. That grant also runs for a year, beginning July 1, 2019. The grant will fund the salary and benefits of a probation officer, as well as incentives, drug screens, participant housing, supplies and graduation.
In March 2018, the DeKalb County Veterans’ Treatment Court began serving veterans of DeKalb County. Led by Judge Kurt B. Grimm of the DeKalb Circuit Court, it offers an alternative to traditional case processing of veterans who are offenders.
The Veterans’ Court allows eligible participants the opportunity to have their charges dismissed, be granted a reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor, or to not have a further sentence imposed by agreeing to complete a substance abuse/mental health treatment program, remain alcohol- and drug-free, meet with a veteran mentor and complete other program requirements as determined by the Veterans’ Court Team.
Participants must complete the Veterans’ Court in its entirety. Those who may be eligible for participation are offenders who served in the armed forces and received an honorable or general discharge, as well as any offender who served in the National Guard or Reserves with service in a foreign war or conflict and received an honorable or general discharge. However, offenders must not have any Level 1 or 2 felonies or Class A felonies on their records. Forcible offenses and current or past sex offenses are not eligible.
DeKalb County’s Family Recovery Court is not yet operational and announced it was in the planning stages in April. A news release issued at that time said this problem-solving court also will be led by Grimm, with the purpose of furthering the successful model of Veterans’ Court in the area of child welfare.
“By using a problem-solving court model, the DeKalb Circuit Court will be able to place addicted parents in a far more intensive program and provide far more treatment services to parents, with the ultimate goal of restoring the family and placing children back in a safe, sober and nurturing environment,” the release said.
DeKalb County Chief Probation Officer Michael Lapham said that while both grants run for one year, he intends to re-apply for them on a continuing basis.
The Indiana Lawyer on 6/4/2019 by Olivia Covington
Hendricks Superior Judge Robert W. Freese has been suspended from judicial office without pay for 45 days after appointing a friend as a trustee of an estate case he was presiding over and failing to take action when the friend did not fulfill his duties, resulting in a “massive theft.”
Freese’s judicial suspension will take effect at 12:01 a.m. July 8 and will expire at the same time on Aug. 22, according to the disciplinary opinion handed down Tuesday in In the Matter of the Honorable Robert W. Freese, Judge of the Hendricks Superior Court 1, 19S-JD-52.
The Indiana Supreme Court Commission on Judicial Qualifications filed disciplinary charges stemming from two counts of misconduct against Freese in January. The judicial discipline stems from Freese’s longtime friendship with Stephen Scott, “one of his closest friends,” according to the suspension order. Their relationship was such that in 2004, Freese used his line of credit to help Scott buy a home, and together the men executed and recorded a $122,400 mortgage in 2005.
Seventeen days after the mortgage was executed, Freese appointed Scott as trustee over the Herbert Hochreiter Living Trust in one of Freese’s cases, Trust of Herbert Hochreiter, 32D01-9710-TR-000003. The parties did not object to Scott’s appointment, but Freese did not disclose their financial arrangement.
Then when Hochreiter died later in 2005, Freese appointed Scott as personal representative of the $2.3 million estate, again failing to disclose the financial arrangement.
Throughout his time as trustee and personal representative, Scott regularly failed to provide the required accounting. When Scott did file a partial, defective accounting in 2009, Freese granted him an extension over the objection of one of the beneficiaries, who believed gold bars were missing from the trust.
Then in 2010, Scott moved to withdraw as trustee, but the beneficiaries objected to him doing so without filing a completing accounting and tax returns. Scott, however, relocated to Florida and never responded to the objection.
Scott’s counsel then began serving as successor trustee and personal representative, and for roughly the next two years, the former trustee was unresponsive to summonses. Further, the successor trustee reported that the trust checking account had only $8.27 and the savings account had been closed for more than six months. In contrast, Scott’s attorney believed the trust should have held $50,000 to $60,000 in cash.
“Judge Freese ‘took no action or minimal action’ on those reports,” the Supreme Court wrote in the Tuesday per curiam opinion. “But while the cases were pending and Scott was living in Florida, he left Scott a phone message stating he was concerned that Scott was behaving bizarrely, and that he ‘would never have thought [Scott] would have stolen anything.’”
Freese eventually ordered Scott to appear in person for a show cause hearing in the fall of 2012, but Scott again failed to show up. Thus, Freese entered a nearly $580,000 judgment against his friend, finding $140,550 was disbursed from the trust to Scott’s personal accounts between September 2007 and August 2011, on top of $101,217 in illegitimate wire transfers or cash withdrawals during that time. Additionally, Freese found $16,800 was transferred from the estate to Scott in January 2010, and the remaining bank balance of $6,517.08 was taken by an unexplained cash withdrawal.
Freese did not refer his findings to local prosecutors or the U.S. attorney, the court wrote, but Scott pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal embezzlement charges. Indiana Southern District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced Scott to 30 months in prison in May 2017.
The stolen funds have not been recovered.
The parties cited no aggravators against Freese, but listed several mitigators, including his “lengthy and distinguished judicial career” and lack of prior discipline. Freese, the former president of the Indiana Judges Association, was also credited for his “active leadership in judicial, legal, and civil-service organizations.”
“They also agree his misconduct was not deliberate or willful and brought him no financial benefit or personal gain, and that the Judge relied heavily on the attorneys to file pleadings in the Trust because it was unsupervised,” the court wrote. “But the Judge also acknowledges that I.C. section 30-4-5-13(b) allowed him to act on his own motion, and that in retrospect he should have acted sooner given the information available to him.”
In agreeing to the parties’ recommendation of a 45-day sentence, the justices said such a sanction is “very severe.” Even so, “the Judge’s misconduct ultimately enabled a massive theft.”
“’The purpose of judicial discipline is not primarily to punish a judge, but rather to preserve the integrity of an public confidence in the judicial system and, when necessary, safeguard the bench and public from those who are unfit,’” the court wrote, citing In re Hawkins, 902 N.E.2d at 244 (Ind. 2009). “The sanction must be designed to deter similar misconduct and assure the public that judicial misconduct will not be condone.
“…(A) 45-day suspension from office without pay is a very serious sanction, but we agree it is warranted here, in view of the serious harm to the Trust and Estate that were enabled by the Judge’s misconduct.”
The commission on judicial qualifications alleged violations of Code of Judicial Conduct Rules 1.2, 2.13(A)(1), 2.4(B) and 2.5(A). Freese stipulated to those violations. The costs of the proceedings, $1,460, are assessed against Freese. All justices concur.
Continue reading →
The Indiana Lawyer on 07/11/2019 by Olivia Covington
A mentally disabled man serving a 55-year prison sentence for a murder 17 years ago that he maintains he did not commit is reviving his efforts for post-conviction relief.
Andrew Royer has filed a successive PCR petition in the Elkhart Circuit Court, alleging new evidence that he says proves he is actually innocent of the 2002 murder of Helen Sailor at an Elkhart apartment complex.
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted Royer permission to file the successive petition in May after years of failed appeals and PCR proceedings. Last year Royer moved to vacate his conviction under Indiana Trial Rule 60(B)(8), but after pushback from the state — which argued Royer could only seek relief through PCR proceedings — his team withdrew the motion to vacate in favor of pursuing post-conviction relief.
His 131-page petition filed last month alleges instances of withheld and/or destroyed exculpatory evidence, witness coercion, perjury, psychologically coercive interrogation techniques and ineffective assistance of counsel. Royer has maintained his confession was false and was the result of police coercion, and he now alleges jurors were not made aware of evidence against two other suspects in the murder.
According to court documents, Royer’s conviction hinged on two main factors: the statement of Nina Porter, a witness, and his confession. Continue reading →
by Karen Oeding, POPAI Website Administrator
A malware attack on LaPorte County’s system has rendered email sent on or after July 5, 2019 (and continues at the time of the writing of this article) to our Board Member and Chair of Awards and Recognition Committee Bob Schuster unretrievable.
Knepple Scholarship Applications returned via email on or after July 5 must be resubmitted to Cherie Wood at email@example.com.
We are extending the deadline to Wednesday June 17th to accommodate all who want to apply.
Founder’s Award, Line Officer of the Year Award, and Rookie of the Year Award nominations should all be sent to Cherie Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All application/nomination documents have been changed to reflect this new information.
Wishing LaPorte County swift recovery.
Last week, LaPorte County was the target of a Malware Attack. All email sent since July 5, 2019 to our Board Member and Chair of Awards and Recognition Committee Bob Schuster is unretrievable.
Knepple Scholarship Applications returned via email on or after July 5 must be resubmitted to Cherie Wood email@example.com.
We are extending the deadline to Wednesday June 17th to accommodate all who want to apply.
Thinking about applying? Find the updated application here and return it with supporting documentation to Cherie Wood on or before Wednesday June 17th.
The Atlantic on 4/16/2018 by Olga Khazan
In the 1980s, France went through a heroin epidemic in which hundreds of thousands became addicted. Mohamed Mechmache, a community activist, described the scene in the poor banlieuesback then: “To begin with, they would disappear to shoot up. But after a bit we’d see them all over the place, in the stairwells and halls, the bike shed, up on the roof with the washing lines. We used to collect the syringes on the football pitch before starting to play,” he told The Guardian in 2014.
The rate of overdose deaths was rising 10 percent a year, yet treatment was mostly limited to counseling at special substance-abuse clinics.
In 1995, France made it so any doctor could prescribe buprenorphine without any special licensing or training. Buprenorphine, a first-line treatment for opioid addiction, is a medication that reduces cravings for opioids without becoming addictive itself.
With the change in policy, the majority of buprenorphine prescribers in France became primary-care doctors, rather than addiction specialists or psychiatrists. Suddenly, about 10 times as many addicted patients began receiving medication-assisted treatment, and half the country’s heroin users were being treated. Within four years, overdose deaths had declined by 79 percent.
Of course, France has a socialized medical system in which many users don’t have to worry about cost, and the country also developed a syringe-exchange program around the same time. Some of the users did sell or inject the buprenorphine (as opposed to taking it orally, as indicated), though these practices didn’t result in nearly as many deaths as heroin does.
“It seems that the French model raises questions about the value of tight regulations imposed by many countries throughout the world,” wrote the author of a study on the phenomenon, the French psychiatrist Marc Auriacombe, in 2004.
Just what are these regulations? In the United States, doctors must take a special, eight-hour class to get a waiver that allows them to prescribe buprenorphine. The classes can cost money and force even more tasks into doctors’ already packed schedules. In one study, 10 percent of doctors said they didn’t even know how to get the waiver. According to Andrew Kolodny, a psychiatrist who studies addiction at Brandeis University, some primary-care doctors might frankly be daunted by the prospect of working with addicted patients—a sentiment that’s also reflectedin physician surveys. Meanwhile, there is no special training class required to prescribe prescription painkillers, Kolodny points out. (There’s also a cap on how many buprenorphine patients a single doctor can have, though Congress is considering waiving this limit through new legislation.)
There are multiple other issues in the American health-care system that make accessing buprenorphine difficult for addicted people. Medicaid pays for a substantial chunk of all drug-abuse treatment, but state Medicaid programs impose limits on when and how they’ll cover buprenorphine.
Finally, doctors know that if they sign up to prescribe buprenorphine, all the local heroin users will flock to them, potentially crowding out their other patients, says Stanford University professor of psychiatry Keith Humphreys. “Doctors also want to take care of kids with colds, and adults with bad backs and cancer patients and the panoply of humanity that they know how to take care of,” he said via email. One way to resolve this would be to require doctors who are licensed to prescribe prescription painkillers to also prescribe buprenorphine.
The result of all this is that many addicted people just can’t find a doctor willing to prescribe them buprenorphine on demand, especially if they want insurance to pay for it. For example, The Atlantic looked up Parkersburg, a city of 30,000 people in West Virginia, the state with the most overdose deaths, on Suboxone.com, a site that lists buprenorphine providers. We found 10 doctors within a 50-mile radius who prescribe buprenorphine, and we attempted to reach all 10.
Some of the contacts appeared to be in the same office. We were told one doctor had a waiting list for patients, three doctors did not accept insurance and charged hundreds of dollars a month in cash, one had a number that was disconnected, and, finally, one was both accepting new buprenorphine patients and took insurance.
“If you really want someone who’s addicted to seek treatment, you have to have it be less expensive than using heroin,” Kolodny said. For many addicted Americans, that’s not currently the case.
The Herald-Tribune on 07/01/2019 by Debbie Blank
VERSAILLES – After Ripley County Circuit Court Judge Ryan King and Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Sharp took their offices in 2015, they successfully pursued a Community Corrections grant from the Indiana Department of Correction. The focus was to come up with alternatives to prison to lessen overcrowding.
At the same time, Ripley County Court Services was officially established. Instead of offices scattered in separate locations, now there’s one entry point at the Versailles courthouse for community supervision – adult and juvenile probation plus Community Corrections.
Through various programs, the judges want offenders “to do something different than what they were doing before,” explains Court Services director Shannon Schmaltz. “We want to do the most with the worst. We are trained to do an assessment and identify those who have the highest risk of re-offending. Our job is to reduce the recidivism rate in Ripley County.”