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2019 IACCAC Fall Training Institute

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Conference Theme: “Stages of Change”

The 2019 IACCAC Fall Training Institute will be held on November 20-22, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency  Indianapolis, located at One South Capitol, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204.
(Intensive sessions begin on November 19, 2019).

The 2019 IACCAC Fall Training Institute will feature…

Wednesday – Keynote:
Dialogue and Collective Leadership: Co-Creating Cultural Change
Tom O’Connor & Samantha Collins – Transforming Corrections

Thursday – Keynote:
A Story of Triumph Over Tragedy: Your Role In The Journey
Michelle Corrao, Prevail, Inc.

Intensive Sessions (Pre-registration Required):

Leaders Who Coach Effectively
Tom O’Connor, Transforming Corrections
Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

How Being Trauma Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses
Melissa Stephenson, Grant County Correctional Services
Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Click here for information on registration and hotel reservations.


Do Cash Rewards For Crime Tips Work?

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NPR on 09/17/2019 by Cheryl Corley

Remember those old “wanted” posters on TV Westerns? They offered rewards for handing over a person to law enforcement. In more recent times, rewards are less about bounty hunting and more about persuading people to provide information that can help solve a crime. It’s an attempt to use money to overcome fear and apathy, and sometimes that can be difficult.

Recently, on a corner outside a Family Dollar store in Maywood, Ill., a suburb west of Chicago, a crowd of relatives, friends and activists gathered and held up pictures of 19-year-old Isiah Scott. They also distributed flyers offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot and killed Scott last March. He had just talked to his girlfriend on the phone about going to prom.

Scott’s mother, Keisha Stansberry, says she raced to the parking lot of the Family Dollar after she saw her son strapped to a gurney on a live social media feed. Stansberry says she knows people saw what happened to her son. She says the suspected shooter threatened other kids, and they were afraid to go to school.

“It’s shameful that I would have to put $5,000 out there for somebody to do what’s right,” said Stansberry. “That was the most horrific thing I’ve ever been through — to watch your child take his last breath on Facebook, on Snapchat. They got him on a gurney on Snapchat. Tubes down his throat.”

Stansberry says lots of people helped her raise the reward money in an effort spearheaded by Michael Pfleger, an activist Chicago priest, and a support group of parents of murdered children. Pfleger says they’ve had some success — paying out rewards in nearly 30 Chicago cases after arrests were made and police verified the information was useful. He says in other instances, rewards haven’t worked but it’s important to continue to offer them.

Continue reading…

Jury awards husband and wife prison employees $11.4M in racial discrimination case

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Detroit Free Press on 9/9/2019 by Paul Egan

LANSING – An all-white jury in Genesee County awarded $11.4 million Monday to two black Corrections Department workers in a case alleging racial discrimination and retaliation.

The jury found that Lisa Griffey, a probation officer, was discriminated against and harassed because she is black. The jury found that her husband, Cedric Griffey, was retaliated against until he was forced to resign because he and his wife complained about the harassment.

Jonathan Marko, who represented the Griffeys in a six-week trial in Genesee County Circuit Court, said he expects the department will be required to pay an additional $1 million in attorney fees and costs.

Lisa Griffey, who still works for the department, was discriminated against from the moment she transferred in 2014 from a probation office in Detroit to an all-white office in Lapeer, Marko said following the verdict.

Co-workers “called her mammy,” and “asked if she wanted chitlins on her pizza,” among other racial insults, Marko said.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Dana Nessel, whose office defended the Corrections Department in the case, said she was “extremely surprised and disappointed” with the verdict.

“We are reviewing our options with our client but we fully expect to appeal,” Rossman-McKinney said.

Lisa Griffey took the transfer because her husband had been promoted to deputy warden at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Marko said. Cedric Griffey had a spotless 29-year record with the department, he said. But soon after he and his wife complained about her treatment, he was brought up on “trumped up” charges alleging he had not properly administered discipline and was eventually forced to resign, he said.

The jury upheld counts of racial harassment and discrimination against Lisa Griffey and retaliation against her husband, Marko said.

Marko said the department tried to smear both employees but jurors instead repudiated the department.

Chris Gautz, a spokesman for the Corrections Department, declined comment.

A sixth person died from vaping-related lung disease. Here’s what you need to know

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CNN on 9/12/2019 by Jacqueline Howard

(CNN) A sixth person in the United States has died from lung disease related to vaping, Kansas health officials said Tuesday. The woman was older than 50 and had a history of health problems. She became seriously ill shortly after she started using e-cigarettes and her symptoms progressed rapidly. It’s not clear what type of vaping products she used, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said.

The death marks the first in the state, but raises even more concern about the safety and regulation of e-cigarettes.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and state health departments have been investigating this outbreak. Health officials say they haven’t found a definitive cause or a clear connection between cases, but some are zeroing in on potential clues.

Here is what you need to know about vaping and vaping-related illnesses in the United States. Continue reading →

AZ Court: State Can’t Force Defendants to Pay for GPS Monitors

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Public News Service on 8/27/2019 by Mark Richardson

KINGMAN, Ariz. — An Arizona appeals court has ruled a defendant whose trial is pending cannot be forced to either pay hefty fees for GPS monitoring or wait in jail.

The ACLU of Arizona challenged before the Arizona Court of Appeals the case of a man who was released while awaiting trial, couldn’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars a month for an ankle monitor and was therefore ordered to jail until his trial.

ACLU attorney Jared Keenan said the Arizona law doesn’t require courts to determine if a defendant is financially able to afford the monitoring fees – although he thinks it should.

“One of the arguments we made to the Court of Appeals was that before you impose any relief condition – whether it’s a cash bail amount, or some sort of other condition that could cost someone money – the court has to consider one’s ability to pay,” Keenan said.

The appeals-court ruling applies only to the defendant in the Mohave County case, but Keenan said he sees it as a strong indicator of how the judges might rule when they consider the constitutionality of the state bail law.

He said it boils down to the belief that, in most cases, a court can’t put a person in jail simply because they can’t afford to either make bail or pay monitoring fees. In the Mohave County case, he said, the judge required GPS monitoring for the defendant solely because of state legal requirements, not because the person was considered a flight risk.

“It has less to do with who’s paying for the monitoring and more to do with the fact that it mandates pre-trial electronic monitoring for everyone based on charge alone, without any kind of individualized assessment of the necessity of pretrial monitoring related to that particular defendant,” Keenan said.

The state Attorney General agrees with the appeals court, saying state law doesn’t give courts the power to force people to pay for their own mandatory pretrial monitoring.

Mohave County probation officials said they contract with a private firm to provide ankle monitors, and the county doesn’t have a budget to pay for GPS monitoring fees.

To Safely Cut Incarceration, States Rethink Responses to Supervision Violations

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Pew Charitable Trust on 7/16/2019 by Issue Brief Pew Charitable Trust


Recent research from The Pew Charitable Trusts found that about 4.5 million people in the United States are on community supervision as of 2016. Probation and parole provide a measure of accountability while allowing those who would otherwise have been incarcerated or have already served a term behind bars to meet their obligations to their families, communities, and victims.

People under supervision are expected to follow a set of rules, such as keeping appointments with probation  or parole officers, maintaining employment, not using alcohol or other drugs, and paying required fees.  Failure to follow the rules—referred to as technical violations—may result in revocation of the supervision and  in some cases a term of incarceration. A 2019 report by the Council of State Governments showed that technical violations account for almost 1 in 4 admissions to state prison and $2.8 billion in annual incarceration costs.1

Such technical revocations are costly, and failure to comply with supervision conditions does not necessarily indicate that a person presents a public safety threat or will engage in new criminal activity. Further, although studies have not demonstrated that incarcerating people for breaking the rules of supervision reduces recidivism, they have found that long periods of incarceration can make re-entry more difficult, causing people to lose  their jobs, homes, and even custody of their children.2

This brief examines policies that states implemented through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) that have reduced technical revocations, highlights some of the results of those changes, and provides sample legislation for each policy. JRI is a public-private partnership among Pew, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, state governments, and technical assistance providers; it seeks to improve public safety and control costs by prioritizing prison space for people sentenced for the most serious offenses and investing in evidence-based alternatives to incarceration and other programs shown to reduce recidivism. These state efforts have not been without challenges, and more can be done to improve supervision outcomes. Nevertheless, the examples provided show that states can take meaningful steps to reduce prison populations and protect public safety  while strengthening systems of supervision and services in the community. Continue reading →

Scientists Unveil Weed Breathalyzer, Launching Debate Over Next Steps

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NPR on 09/05/2019 by Francesca Paris

The alcohol Breathalyzer came to life slowly, over the course of decades.

From the 1930s through the 1960s, scientists, lawmakers, police and the public quarreled over the veracity of the numbers spit out by the device, the appropriate legal limit for drivers and whether they could trust a machine over a cop’s testimony.

Today, the same debate is playing out over cannabis.

As 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized pot in some form, Breathalyzer-type devices that could theoretically aid police enforcement have begun appearing in various stages of development. But legal experts and scientists say there’s a long way to go before those devices can actually detect a driver’s impairment.

Last week, a team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh announced the latest tool to detect THC — delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component in pot — in breath.

The university’s Star Lab, led by Alexander Star, began developing the box-shaped device in 2016, in the midst of a wave of pot legalization across the United States. Star, a chemistry professor, partnered with Ervin Sejdic, a professor of electrical and computer engineering who’s also at the university, to build the prototype.

The device uses carbon nanotubes, which are 1/100,000 the size of human hair, to recognize the presence of THC, even when other substances are in the breath, such as alcohol. The THC molecule binds to the surface of the tubes, altering their electrical properties.

“Nanotechnology sensors can detect THC at levels comparable to or better than mass spectrometry, which is considered the gold standard for THC detection,” says the news release from the university’s Swanson School of Engineering.

Continue reading…

Indiana Officials Call Meth Emerging Drug Crisis

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WBAA on 8/9/2019 by Carter Barrett

Meth – this is the drug the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse says needs more attention.

The commission met Thursday to discuss the emerging drug, in a shift that comes after years of statewide focus on the opioid epidemic. A recent preliminary Centers for Disease Control report shows promising signs that the opioid epidemic may be slowing.

Officials warn that meth continues to be a statewide problem. Since 2015, charges for possession of meth has grown 170 percent according to data from the Indiana Prosecutor Case Management system. Although in most recent 2018 data, these numbers appeared to have leveled off.

“Meth has certainly not gone away, never did go away,” says David Powell, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council executive director. “It is a serious problem and I think we’ll show you some numbers that should alarm everyone in the room, certainly alarms me.”

Indiana had more meth possession charges in the first seven months of 2019, than in all of 2016 combined.

Changes to state law reduced the number of meth labs in Indiana, but the price of the drug has dropped as it’s smuggled into the U.S, Indiana State Police’s Taylor Shafer told the commission. Police have reported seeing an influx of drugs from the southern border.

Shafer says finding large amounts of meth – in the dozens of pounds – is much more common than in previous years.

Representatives from the Indiana Department of Education, Family and Social Services Administration and Department of Corrections all presented how each administration is addressing the rise in meth.

Probation and Parole Systems Marked by High Stakes, Missed Opportunities

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PEW on 9/25/2019 by Issue Brief, Pew Charitable Trusts


Incarceration has long dominated the national conversation on criminal justice, because the U.S. prison population skyrocketed between the 1980s and late 2000s. Starting in 2007, policymakers seeking to protect public safety, improve accountability, and save taxpayer dollars initiated a wave of bipartisan reforms that has reduced the number of people behind bars in many states. Yet this movement has largely overlooked the largest part of the correctional system: community supervision.

Nationwide, 4.5 million people are on probation or parole—twice the incarcerated population, including those in state and federal prisons and local jails. The growth and size of the supervised population has undermined the ability of local and state community corrections agencies to carry out their basic responsibilities to provide the best public safety return on investment as well as a measure of accountability. Although research has identified effective supervision and treatment strategies, the system is too overloaded to implement them, so it sends large numbers of probationers and parolees back to prison for new crimes or for failure to follow the rules.

As part of a collaborative effort to improve the nation’s community corrections system, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation analyzed the leading research and identified the most pressing problems and some promising solutions. The available data leave many questions unanswered, but this review reveals key insights and challenges many assumptions about supervision. Among the findings:

Community corrections is marked by considerable growth and scale, disproportionate representation of men and people of color, and a majority of people who committed nonviolent offenses.

  • 1 in 55 U.S. adults (nearly 2 percent) was on probation or parole in 2016 (the most recent year for which data are available), a population increase of 239 percent since 1980, though rates vary considerably by state, from  1 in 18 in Georgia to 1 in 168 in New Hampshire.
  • Between 1999 and 2016, the probation population per crime reported to police rose 24 percent and per arrest rose  28 percent.
  • African-Americans make up 30 percent of those on community supervision but just 13 percent of the U.S. adult population.
  • 3.5 times as many men as women are on supervision, but the number of women on parole or probation has almost doubled since 1990 to more than 1 million.
  • More than three-quarters of the 4.5 million Americans on probation or parole were convicted of nonviolent offenses.

Improvements in supervision offer opportunities to enhance public safety, decrease drug misuse, and reduce incarceration.

  • Nearly a third of the roughly 2.3 million people who exit probation or parole annually fail to successfully complete  their supervision for a wide range of reasons, such as committing new crimes, violating the rules, and absconding. Each year almost 350,000 of those individuals return to jail or prison, often because of rule violations rather  than new crimes.
  • About one-fifth of felony defendants were on supervision when they were arrested. Although probationers and  parolees make up a minority of arrests, they are disproportionately represented among arrestees compared with the general population, suggesting that improved supervision success rates would lead to greater public safety and  reduced taxpayer expense.
  • Rates of substance use among those on supervision are two to three times those of the general population, but many probationers and parolees do not have access to treatment.

Policy changes can reduce correctional control and improve public safety.

  • From 2007 to 2016, 37 states experienced simultaneous drops in their community corrections and crime rates.  In many cases, these gains followed adoption of evidence-based sentencing and corrections reforms that prioritized scarce supervision and treatment resources for higher-risk individuals, invested in risk-reduction programs, and  created incentives for compliance.

These findings demonstrate the need for greater scrutiny of the community corrections system by policymakers and the public. They also reinforce an emerging consensus among leading practitioners for a fundamental change in the vision and mission of supervision: from punishing failure to promoting success. Continue reading →

Feds to revamp confidentiality rules for addiction treatment

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ABC News on 8/22/2019 by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press

Federal health officials proposed Thursday to revamp stringent patient confidentiality regulations from the 1970s to encourage coordination among medical professionals treating people caught in the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the goal is to make it easier to share a patient’s drug treatment history with doctors treating that person for other problems. That can stave off serious — even fatal — errors, like unwittingly prescribing opioid painkillers to a surgical patient with a history of dependence. A patient’s consent would still be required.

Initially the rules were meant to reassure people seeking drug treatment from federally funded programs that their medical information would not be shared with police. But the paper-era rules haven’t kept up in the age of electronic records and doctor-patient communication via text message.

A coalition of nearly 50 groups, including mental health professionals, insurers, hospitals and pharmacists, has been pressing for a change. The push has bipartisan support in Congress.

“This was all well-meaning,” Azar said of the original rules. “The idea was people won’t seek treatment if they feared that information would be available to law enforcement. (But) a highly restrictive regime on the control of that information has served as a barrier to safe, coordinated care for that same patient.”

For example, said Azar, a hospital doctor seeing a patient who is being treated with methadone for heroin addiction might decide not to mention that medication in the patient’s record. The doctor might be concerned that could trigger official scrutiny of the hospital’s own records system. Later on, another doctor treating the same patient might prescribe another drug that’s not safe to take with methadone, as are common anti-anxiety medications. Such omissions could have serious repercussions for the patient.

In a time when many patients communicate with doctors via text messages, the 1970s privacy rule has created unforeseen problems. For example, if a doctor gets a text from a patient in a recovery program, does the doctor’s phone have to be electronically wiped or destroyed to protect sensitive information? The new rule would clarify that such texts can simply be deleted.

The proposal will be open for public comment for 60 days after it’s published in the Federal Register. It’s based on a recommendation by President Donald Trump’s commission on the opioid epidemic.

Justices: Decades-old rule in fixed plea modifications still stands

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The Indiana Lawyer on 8/17/2019 by Olivia Covington

In upholding a decades-old rule recently codified through a legislative amendment, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled in companion cases that trial courts can only modify a sentence entered as part of a fixed-plea agreement if the modified sentence would not have violated the plea agreement at the time the sentence was originally imposed.

The court handed down unanimous opinions on the sentence-modification question Wednesday in Alberto Baiza Rodriguez v. State of Indiana18S-CR-143, and State of Indiana v. Pebble Stafford39S04-1712-CR-749.

In the Rodriguez case, Alberto Rodriguez pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor drunken driving charges and was sentenced to six years on work release. The agreement noted there was “no discretion to change” Rodriguez’s sentencing order as long as he remained on work release.

Likewise in Stafford, Pebble Stafford was sentenced under a fixed plea agreement to six years in the Department of Correction for a felony drug charge, plus consecutive sentences of 30 days in county jail and four years in community corrections for drug and battery charges.

Both Rodriguez and Stafford moved to modify their sentences. In Stafford’s case, the trial court allowed the modification and the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed. In Rodriguez’s case, however, the trial court denied the modification, but a divided Court of Appeals reversed.

The dissent in the initial Rodriguez opinion was from former Justice and now-Senior Judge Robert Rucker, who wrote that amendments to Indiana’s sentence modification statute, specifically, Indiana Code § 35-38-1-17(l), did not “repeal long-standing statutory authority or to overrule long-standing judicial precedent… .” Likewise, after the Stafford and Rodriguez opinions came down, the Indiana General Assembly once again amended the sentence modification statute to codify the longstanding practice of courts deferring to sentences in fixed plea agreements unless the prosecutor consents to a modified sentence outside the terms of the agreement.

With that legislative amendment, the Indiana Supreme Court remanded both cases to the COA for reconsideration in light of the new statute.

In Rodriguez, the lower appellate court once again upheld the modification of the fixed sentence, finding the statutory amendments weren’t applicable. Rucker again dissented.

However, in Stafford, the Court of Appeals determined the amendment made clear that “the legislature never intended to create a right to modification of fixed sentences imposed under a plea agreement.” The cases then went before the Supreme Court for oral arguments in May. The justices used the Rodriguez decision to outline their legal analysis, finding that neither trial court had discretion to modify either defendants’ fixed sentences.

“As a matter of statutory interpretation, we find the decades-old rule of sentence modification remains undisturbed: courts may modify a sentence only if the new sentence would not have violated the terms of the valid plea agreement had the new sentence been originally imposed,” Justice Steven David wrote for the Supreme Court in Rodriguez.

David began the court’s analysis by noting the Legislature made amendments to the sentence modification statute in 2014, 2016 and 2018, throwing the legal community “into uncertain territory over whether defendants who entered into a fixed-term plea agreement could now petition for sentence modification despite the terms of their agreement.”

“Our own Court of Appeals in Rodriguez II and Stafford II charted no less than four possible paths forward to interpret the same statutory provisions,” the justice wrote.

In clarifying the confusion, the court relied on the rule of Pannarale v. State, 638 N.E.2d 1247 (Ind. 1994) — in fixed plea agreements, “a deal is a deal.”

“The logical application of this rule — that a defendant may not petition for modification of a fixed-plea sentence because the plea agreement authorized the court to only impose a specific sentence — has been reinforced by Pannarale and its progeny for several decades leading up to the present challenge,” David wrote. “… This rule is reinforced by codified law under Indiana Code section 35-35-3-3(e), which provides, ‘If the court accepts a plea agreement, it shall be bound by its terms.’ That provision has remained unchanged since this Court’s decision in Pannarale …”

But that rule came into question with the 2014 amendment, which, under I.C. 35-28-1-17(l), held that “(a) person may not waive the right to sentence modification under this section as part of a plea agreement.” However, due to the confusion created by the COA opinions, the 2018 General Assembly amended I.C. 35-38-1-17(e) to hold that “if the convicted person was sentenced under the terms of a plea agreement, the court may not, without the consent of the prosecuting attorney, reduce or suspend the sentence and impose a sentence not authorized by the plea agreement.”

Further, subsection (l) was amended in 2018 to hold that the statute does not prohibit “the finding of a waiver of the right to…have a court modify a sentence and impose a sentence not authorized by the plea agreement, as described under subsection (e)… .”

“We think a reasonable harmonization of these provisions is that the legislature sought only to ban the explicit waiver of the right to sentence modification within the text of the written plea agreement,” David wrote. “…This view also reinforces the well-established principle that plea agreements are contractual in nature.”

The court handed down a shorter, four-page opinion in Stafford, writing that the law stated in Rodriguez is equally applicable to Stafford’s case. Thus, in Rodriguez, the justices affirmed the denial of his motion for sentence modification, while they reversed the grant of Stafford’s sentence modification.

Stafford was remanded for further proceedings necessary to resolve the case.

Teen murder wavier to adult court affirmed; police custody issue splits COA

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The Indiana Lawyer on 8/19/2019 by Dave Stafford

A juvenile court’s rulings in a murder case implicating a 15-year-old boy who had gone to the police station to answer questions after he had been treated for stab wounds were upheld Monday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

The panel affirmed the Lake Superior Court’s finding that there was probable cause to find O.E.W. committed acts that would be felony murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and theft if committed by an adult — a necessary judgment to waive the case to adult criminal court. The appellate court also affirmed the trial court’s grant of motion to suppress certain statements the teen made to police because he had not been advised of his Miranda rights.

The case began two years ago, in August 2017, when then-15-year-old O.E.W told his girlfriend he was going to buy marijuana from a neighbor in Hammond. He later came home with what appeared to be puncture wounds to his arms, legs, back and torso. He ultimately told his de facto father the injuries were the result of a fight.

After his wounds were treated, the teen’s mother called police to report an alleged attack on her son, and a detective told her she should bring him to the police station to make a statement. Hammond detectives spoke with the teen and his mother in an interview room, and the statement was recorded on video. O.E.W. initially told police he had been in a fight with schoolmates, but the story didn’t hold up when police talked to the other teens O.E.W said had been involved.

Ultimately, police asked the teen about the murder of Lucia Gonzales, of which O.E.W. was aware. As he became a suspect, police obtained warrants for his DNA, which matched evidence connected to the crime. Likewise, location information for Gonzales’ cellphone led police to follow the pings, finding it beneath O.E.W.’s pillow where he slept.

In March 2018, the state filed its delinquency petition, along with a petition to waive jurisdiction to adult criminal court, which it did last August. The trial court found probable cause that O.E.W. committed what would be felony murder, Level 2 felony robbery resulting in bodily injury and Class A misdemeanor theft if committed by an adult. The trial court also suppressed any statements the teen made to police because he had not been advised of his Miranda rights.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court in all respects in this consolidated appeal, State of Indiana v. O.E.W.18A-JV-2409.

“With regard to the State’s appeal, we conclude that the juvenile court did not err as a matter of law by concluding that O.E.W. was subject to custodial interrogation when the police questioned him regarding his knowledge of Gonzales’s death. We therefore affirm the juvenile court’s order on O.E.W.’s motion to suppress,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the majority joined by Judge Melissa May. “With regard to O.E.W.’s cross-appeal, we conclude that the juvenile court did not clearly err when it found that the evidence is sufficient to show that there is probable cause to believe that O.E.W. committed acts that would be felony murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, and theft if committed by an adult.”

Judge Elaine Brown dissented from the appellate court’s ruling on the trial court’s motion to suppress. She would not find that O.E.W. was in custody at the police station, “(i)n the context of a purported victim showing up at the police station and being asked, in a room with a door that remained open, first about his injuries and eventually about certain events that occurred in the neighborhood … .”

(Kosciusko) County Council Approves Adding Probation Officer

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Times Union on 8/22/2019

Superior Court II Judge Joe Sutton (L) looks on as Superior Court I Judge David Cates addressed the Kosciusko County Council regarding staffing changes necessitated by the new Rule 26 law. Photo by David Slone

The Kosciusko County Probation Department will get a new officer in 2020 after Judge David Cates further explained Thursday to the county council how Criminal Rule 26 will affect the county.

During a budget hearing Monday, he asked the council to reconsider their decision to not approve any additional probation officers for 2020 because of a state mandate. The wage committee made a nonbinding recommendation to the council on new employees and wages, which also didn’t include any new probation officers.

According to information online at, Rule 26 states, in part, that “if an arrestee does not present a substantial risk of flight or danger to themselves or others, the court should release the arrestee without money bail or surety subject to such restrictions and conditions as determined by the court except when: (1) The arrestee is charged with murder or treason. (2) The arrestee is on pre-trial release not related to the incident that is the basis for the present arrest. (3) The arrestee is on probation, parole or other community supervision.”

Thursday night, Cates reminded the council that several years ago when he came before the planning committee, with Rule 26 coming into affect, he said he would need three new adult probation officers and one juvenile probation officer. Beginning this year, there was one additional juvenile probation officer and one adult officer, both have worked out very well, he said.

“We still need the two. And here’s why,” Judge Cates said. “Criminal (Rule) 26 was not a local initiative, it is not a local initiative. This is something mandated by the Indiana Supreme Court and codified by the legislature. It is something that becomes effective in our county Jan. 1, 2020.”

He said the concept is pre-trial release.

“We have competing constitutional perspectives here. One is that a criminal defendant, a person accused of a crime, is innocent until proven guilty. Second is, people are entitled to bail for most crimes – not talking murder or treason – but for most crimes. We also have to keep the community safe. So we have competing interests here,” Cates explained.

“With Rule 26, bonds – technically bail – remains an option. However, it has to be based upon an evidence-based risk assessment approved by the Office of Court Services. The Office of Court Services is an arm of the Indiana Supreme Court. The only such assessment of which I am aware is called the (Indiana Risk Assessment System Pre-trial Assessment Tool),” he said.

The IRASPAT is a list of questions to be asked, to gauge the likelihood of an arrestee’s failure to appear and danger to the community.

“From that verified score, there is a matrix and the matrix is largely something determined by local judges,” Cates said. He there is a team going to Indianapolis Oct. 4 consisting of law enforcement, prosecutor, judicial and probation staff to make sure that matrix is properly developed so “we can proceed. When you look at that matrix, you look at that crime and that determines the level of pre-trial release. It may be (own recognizance), it may be cash bond, it may be some sort of monitoring.”

IRASPAT requires a certified administrator. The only people in Kosciusko County that are certified administrators are probation officers. He said the county’s current number of probation officers already “have higher caseloads than what they should” and they also monitor offenders.

“With Criminal Rule 26, they’re going to have to administer the test,” he said.

Nine counties have already piloted the process. Of those, Cates said, one uses jailers who have been specifically trained to administer the test, which he said came with some inherent conflict; and one county created an entirely new office of pre-trial services, which he didn’t advocate for.

“Which leaves us with our probation department. They’re the folks that are trained to do it, they can do it,” he said, but he wants them to monitor offenders as much as possible which is why more probation officers are needed to administer the test for the pre-trial release.

If offenders are assessed correctly, and pre-trial defendants can be released and monitored, the system could free up a conservative estimate of 50 beds at the jail, Cates said.

He said the county’s options were to do nothing and live with what it has, but the probation officers will be required to administer the IRASPAT and that will take away their time from monitoring offenders; the county could create a new office, which he repeated he was not suggesting; it could hire and train additional Community Corrections officers, which will take time;  or it could add additional adult probation officers, which was Cates’ recommendation.

Cates said Rule 26 is something that was being imposed upon the county and will involve some additional services for pre-trial.

Councilman Mike Long asked if it was still a pilot program or come Jan. 1 if became a full-time program. Cates responded it was a pilot program now, but on Jan. 1 it becomes effective in all 92 Indiana counties.

Long asked how Rule 26 would affect the revenue to the county.

“To the extent that cash bonds are posted, and then utilized to pay court costs, to pay public defender fees, to pay alcohol and drug programs, to pay fines, to pay restitution. To the extent that we are no longer receiving those cash bonds, those cash bonds would not be available for those programs. Now that doesn’t mean they can’t be assessed, they can still be collected, but that’s largely going to fall upon the county,” Cates answered.

He said most of the people arrested in Kosciusko County are on misdemeanors. Most misdemeanors, if not all, will be, at least initially, an automatic “out on their own recognizance” with no bond whatsoever.

After the council approved the new probation officer, Council President Sue Ann Mitchell said that as far as full-time new county employees for 2020, it was up to 12. Of that dozen, all but one were for the departments in the Justice Building.

“Does that tell you where our expenditures are? Does that tell you that we spend an awful lot of money on trying to take care of those who are doing bad things? It’s kind of an eye-opening thought when you think about it like that,” Mitchell said. “So because of those people that do bad things, that causes us to have to spend more money across the street (at the Justice Building), we’ll have to be looking at taking  the money from the (Economic Development Income Tax) and moving it from EDIT back into the general fund.”

The council approved moving $2 million from EDIT to the general fund for budgets and other increases.

The council also approved a new investigator for the prosecutor’s office as longtime investigator Sam Whitaker is retiring at the end of the year. Starting pay will be about $48,000. With the new investigator, County Prosecutor Dan Hampton will have two investigators in his office.


CNN Host Van Jones Sees Urgency in Movement for Probation and Parole Reform

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The Chronicle of Social Change on 08/22/2019 by Jeremy Loudenback

“Timing is everything,” CNN host and author Van Jones told a room full of law enforcement officials, gathered in San Francisco on Monday for the announcement of a new initiative that hopes to drastically shrink the number of Americans under the supervision of probation or parole.

In recent years, the number of people on adult parole or probation in the U.S. has mushroomed to 4.5 million, twice the number of Americans who are incarcerated in state and federal prisons and local jails. According to research, those two systems — originally imagined as alternatives to imprisonment — are now heavy drivers of incarceration. Technical parole and probation violations account for about a quarter of state prison admissions, according to the Council of State Governments Justice Center.

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States are trying to change a system that keeps poor people in jail. The bail industry is blocking them.

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CNN on 08/30/2019 by Collete Richards and Drew Griffen

On the side of a building just outside the county jail in Des Moines, Iowa, there is a drive-thru window. But it is not dishing out burgers and fries. The main item on its menu is freedom, and it can come at a steep price.

“Get your bail bond here. Don’t wait at jail,” reads the old-timey script on a sign in the yard.

The unassuming tan building with green and burnt orange accents sits on a small hill before the jail. There is no way to miss Lederman Bail Bonds on the way in or out of the correctional complex.

It’s the family business — run by four brothers who have operations across Iowa and the rest of the Midwest. But behind the familiar drive-thru window set up is a well-funded political force with an agenda to stop the jail at the bottom of the hill from making any changes to a bail system that keeps their profits rolling in.

Across the country, bail bond companies like the ones owned by the Ledermans are up in revolt, fighting back against states’ efforts to rethink and overhaul an antiquated money bail system.

Corrections officials, jail runners, judges, public defenders, civil rights groups, and bipartisan leaders alike agree that the system in place that handles the presumed innocent is broken.

As structured, the bail bonds industry survives largely off those who don’t have the financial resources to post bail. Overwhelmingly, the service of a bail bondsman is their only way out of jail. Bail bond companies make money by charging a fee — typically 10% of a defendant’s bail amount. So if a defendant has bond set at $50,000, the bail bond company charges $5,000 to get them out. No matter what, the bonds company will collect that charge — guilty or not guilty. Even if the charges are dropped. That is the price and process of release.

Those who can’t afford the 10% the bond company charges can set up a payment plan, usually in small installments like $100 a week until the big bill is paid off. Contracts like those tether vulnerable families to debts that can linger on for years — landing them in court for missed payments, with garnished wages and accruing interest. Experts say defendants will sometimes plead guilty to lesser charges, even if they are innocent, in order to avoid the bail system and get out of jail sooner.

More affluent defendants, who can afford to post bond with their own money, go free and get the money back provided they show up for their court dates.
Reform efforts across the country seek to make the bail system less burdensome on the poor. The majority of states addressing the issue are trying to make money bail the last resort, by mandating that judges apply the “least onerous release conditions possible” and consider the defendant’s ability to pay, as well as eliminating money bail for low-level charges. As a result, the $2-billion-a-year bail bonds industry is in a fight for its very survival.
A CNN review of all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that the powerful industry has derailed, stalled or killed reform efforts in at least nine states, which combined cover more than one third of the country’s population.

To date, more than 25 states have passed laws or enacted changes that address bail practices, while several still have pending efforts or bail procedure review committees in the works.

The story of bail reform is as messy as it is laborious. It’s a long road of continuous push and pull between stakeholders. Even among reformers, there’s disagreement over how best to do it. A popular remedy is using some sort of computerized “risk assessment” tool that evaluates the likelihood a person would show up for court based on criteria such as age, past failures to appear for court and criminal convictions. However, some scholars and civil rights activists, including the ACLU, oppose such tools, saying they are flawed and often racially biased. Whether attempting sweeping or modest change, lawmakers have described the bail industry’s involvement as nasty and contentious.
Jeff Clayton, the Executive Director of the American Bail Coalition, said that the process is tense on both sides and that his industry is unfairly being called predatory.”We don’t arrest the people,” Clayton said. “We don’t set their bails. And if people want to use our services, we feel that’s an extension of their constitutional right to do so.” Clayton adds that while his group “participated in public policy discussion regarding bail reform” in the nine states outlined by CNN, “we definitely had significant impact” but “I don’t think we were the driving force.”

Even after a reform is passed, the battle can continue.

Last year, California lawmakers passed the most far-reaching legislation yet — ending cash bail altogether. But shortly after the passage of that law, the bail bond industry, and the insurance companies that underwrite their bonds, raised more than $3 million to fund a ballot referendum that put everything on hold.
The effort was successful, and voters will decide the issue on the November 2020 ballot.

The same thing is happening across the country.

In Texas, for example, there was a clamor for reforms following the jailhouse death of Sandra Bland, who had been arrested for allegedly assaulting an officer during a July 2015 traffic stop for not using a turn signal. Her family was working to secure the 10% fee to hire a bondsman on her $5,000 bail, but three days after her arrest she was found hanging in her cell. Had Bland been able to afford her bond, reformers say, she would not have sat alone in a jail cell for three days. Texas tried to pass reforms in the 2017 session, but the bail industry’s lobbying efforts helped thwart the measure from progressing, according to a committee staff member. This past session, despite even wider support and a strong initiative by the governor, bail reform died again, as the bill the House passed was never put on a Senate committee calendar.Most lawmakers pursue bail reform because of the consequences that come with putting a price on someone’s freedom, particularly if that person is poor.

County jails are overflowing with people waiting to have their day in court. They far outnumber those who are serving actual sentences for crimes.

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