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Registration Continues for POPAI Management Institute

REGISTRATION for the 2017 POPAI Management Training is now open to Chief POs, Assistant CPOs, Probation Supervisors, and Probation Staff members who serve in a management capacity.

POPAI is excited to be bringing in Melanie Lowenkamp from Core Correctional Solutions to present a full day of training on how to engage and motivate staff members to sustain evidence based practices within our organizations.  She will be presenting at the Management Institute on Tuesday, April 11th.

The CPO summit will focus on several different topics relevant to probation including CR 26 (pre-trial release), E-filing (it’s coming), juvenile updates from the DCS, and new information from the Indiana Office of Court Services.

Training brochure may be accessed at the following link 2017 POPAI Management Training Brochure

The registration link can also be found here:

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and we hope to see you all in April!


Susan Rice| Chief Probation Officer
Miami County Probation Department
25 Court Street
Peru, Indiana 46970
Direct |765-472-3699
Office | 765-473-9861
Fax | 765-473-7894

New task force meant to break down language barriers, aid court interpreters

Full Article

The INDIANA LAWYER com on 03/22/17 by Olivia Covington

Nearly 14,000 cases heard in Indiana’s trial courts in 2015 required a court interpretation service, a 21 percent increase from the previous year’s services and a 73 percent increase over 2013, when just under 8,000 cases required an interpreter.

Those services meet the needs of a variety of people, from Indianapolis’ Burmese population to Latino Hoosiers to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. As the number of litigants, witnesses or spectators requesting interpretation services continues to rise, the Indiana Supreme Court is taking steps to ensure those services are high-quality and far-reaching.

Through the Indiana Supreme Court’s recently created Advisory Task Force on Language Access in Indiana Courts, representatives from all areas of the legal community are studying how language can be a barrier to justice and how the state’s court system can improve its language services to remove that barrier.

Using Community Corrections beds not an option for Vigo jail

Full Article

Tribune-Star on Mar 14, 2017 by Howard Greninger

Exec Director: It’s two different kinds of custody, housing

Vigo County’s Community Corrections Center has available bed space, but that doesn’t mean those beds can be used to accommodate jail inmates.

Rather, Executive Director Bill Watson said Tuesday, Community Corrections is obligated to serve several counties besides Vigo, and the legal and correctional standards for placement there are quite different than in a jail.

Watson was answering a question put to the Vigo County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday by county resident David McGowan, who said he has heard the corrections facility has available space. He wondered why that space could not be used to ease overcrowding at Vigo County Jail.

Watson said unlike the county jail, people placed into Community Corrections have to pay for their food and medical care and do their own laundry while at the facility. People also have to qualify to enter the program, he added.

“You can’t take [jail inmates] and just say ‘I am going to move them over there [in Community Corrections] and hold them like they are in jail in another county.’ We legally cannot do that,” Watson said.

“You can’t just hold them in the work release center like you are holding them in the jail,” Watson said, “because then you get into statutorily what they are required to have as far as law library, exercise, meals, certain things like that.

“Those are things that not provided in a work release center,” Watson said.  READ ON

Wabash Judge a Finalist for Indiana Supreme Court Position

Full Article on March 23, 2017 by Wane Staff Writers

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) The Judicial Nominating Commission named 11 finalists for an open Supreme Court judicial position, including a judge from Wabash.

On May 12, 2017, Justice Robert D. Ruck will retire from the five-member Supreme Court. The Indiana Constitution requires the seven-member commission to recruit and select candidates to fill the vacancy on the state’s highest court.

The commission did 20 public interviews with applicants on March 21 and 22. Eleven have been invited back for second interviews April 17-19. Judge Christopher M. Goff of the Wabash Superior Court is one of the eleven chosen.

Now accepting applications for the Donald “Charley” Knepple Award

Full Article

on 3/19/2017

Donald “Charley” Knepple

Submit your application to be considered for the Donald “Charley” Knepple Scholarship Award. The winner will be announced at the 2017 Annual Indiana Probation Officers Conference in May.

The qualified candidate chosen for the Scholarship Award will be awarded $2,500.00 to help pay for their costs in continuing his or her education pursing a Masters / Doctorate Degree.

Full Information including qualifications

Questions? Contact CJ Miller, Chair of Awards and Recognition Committee at 317-776-6800 or

COA rejects ineffective counsel claim based on judge’s sentencing practices

Full Article

The Indiana Lawyer on 03/15/2017 by Olivia Covington

A man who pleaded guilty to child molesting cannot prove that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday, but the post-conviction court must still address the issue of whether his plea was voluntary.

In Gary Hanks v. State of Indiana, 10A01-1604-PC-690, Gary Hanks was charged with one count of Class A felony child molesting and four counts of Class C felony child molesting.  Christopher Sturgeon, a Clark County public defender appointed to represent Hanks, advised his client of a plea offer from the state that would allow Hanks to plead guilty to only the Class A felony and be sentenced to 30 years.

Hanks rejected the plea deal, so that state made an “open offer” that would have allowed him to plead guilty to the Class A felony charge without the benefit of a sentencing recommendation from the state.  Hanks testified that he and Sturgeon did not discuss how the judge might sentence him on an open plea, but Hanks still chose to accept the offer.

Clark Circuit Judge Daniel F. Donahue, who admitted that he had a reputation for taking “a hard stance in sentencing defendants in sexual offender sentencing proceedings,” especially in open pleas, sentenced Hanks to the statutory maximum of 50 years in the Department of Correction. Hanks then filed for post-conviction relief, which was denied one year ago.

On appeal, Hanks argued that Sturgeon provided ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to advise him of Donahue’s sentencing practices, but for which he would not have rejected the original 30-year offer. Further, Hanks argued that because he did not know of Donahue’s sentencing practices, his guilty was plea was not knowing, intelligent or voluntary.

Judge Paul Mathias, writing for the Indiana Court of Appeals, said in a Wednesday opinion that, “If information about a local judge’s sentencing practices is a necessary component of receiving effective assistance from local counsel in a particular case, the accused’s lack of such information satisfied the performance prong (of an ineffective counsel claim) without regard for why counsel failed to supply it.”

However, Mathias also wrote that “there is no evidence in the record that reasonable professional competence in Clark County in 2001 required knowledge of Judge Donahue’s sentencing practices in sex offender cases.” Thus, Hanks has failed to carry his burden to show that Sturgeon’s failure to advise him of Donahue’s practices fell short of the standard of reasonable competence, the appellate judge said.

The appellate panel did, however, remand Hanks’ knowing, intelligent and voluntary plea claim to the post-conviction court after determining that the issue was not resolved.

A brutal ending to young Avon mom’s descent into heroin addiction

Full Article

Indy Star on 3/10/2017 by Chris Sikich

On Jan. 7, 2017, Jordan King drove with friends looking to buy heroin. Her body was found after she had been dragged from the car for 75 feet on Martin Luther King Jr. Street. Her parents reflect on her life.

The former cheerleader loved her daughter, her family and her friends, but ‘the addiction was greater.’

Jordan King’s parents knew heroin addiction might kill her, but they never thought her life would end in such a brutal way.

Jordan King

Jordan’s family isn’t alone in struggling with life-and-death questions. Deaths from opioid overdoses have nearly doubled in Indiana in the past five years and roughly 4 percent of adults have misused opioids, state data shows.

Lawmakers have noticed. They are considering bills that would help provide access to counseling, tighter prescription controls, addiction treatment and programs for addicted women who are pregnant or have newborns.

Those efforts might help another family, but it’s too late for Jordan’s. The night of Jan. 7, she suffered a skull fracture and brain damage. She never woke up. A week later, Gar and Lisa King decided to remove their daughter from life support. Jordan King died at 5:24 a.m. Jan. 15, three days before her 26th birthday. Gar King still wears the wristwatch that he stopped the moment his daughter died.

“The easiest thing to say is she was hanging out with the wrong people,” he said, at a loss to explain how his daughter’s life ended this way. “I don’t know. I can’t answer that question. We supplied her with everything she needed, gave her the right opportunities. I wish someone would tell me.” Continue reading →