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The Pot Breathalyzer Is Here. Maybe

Full Article

NPR on 08/04/2018 by Eric Westervelt

As legalization of recreational and medical marijuana continues to expand, police across the country are more concerned than ever about stoned drivers taking to the nation’s roads and freeways, endangering lives.

With few accurate roadside tools to detect pot impairment, police today have to rely largely on field sobriety tests developed to fight drunk driving or old-fashioned observation, which can be foiled with Visine or breath mints.

That has left police, courts, public health advocates and recreational marijuana users themselves frustrated. Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana and 30 states and D.C. have legalized medical pot.

Now one California company claims it has made a major breakthrough in creating what some thought of as a unicorn: a marijuana breathalyzer.

“We are trying to make the establishment of impairment around marijuana rational and to balance fairness and safety,” says Hound Labs CEO Mike Lynn in his downtown Oakland, Calif., office.

ISP: $1M worth of pot found hidden in fresh lettuce in tractor-trailer

Full Article

IndyStar on 8/8/2018 by Crystal Hill

Indiana State Police say a search of a tractor-trailer found 260 pounds of hydroponic marijuana on Aug. 8, 2018. Photo: Indiana State Police

A car inspection on I-70 led to the discovery of $1 million worth of marijuana hidden in fresh lettuce, Indiana State Police said Wednesday.

A tractor-trailer traveling eastbound was stopped near the 41 mile marker around 7:30 a.m. in Putnam County for a routine inspection, State Police said in a news release.

A search of the trailer found 260 pounds of marijuana in a load of fresh lettuce that was being transported from Colorado to Florida, according to ISP.

The two men in the truck, both from Florida, were arrested on felony charges of dealing marijuana. They were taken to Putnam County Jail, police said.

Governor joins push for Indiana hate crime law

Full Article

Wave 3 News, Louisville on 8/7/18 by Charles Gazaway

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WAVE) – Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is now joining the call to pass a hate crime law in the Hoosier state.

The move comes just days after anti-Semitic graffiti was spray painted on a synagogue in Carmel. The vandalism has united the Carmel community and much of the state who are urging lawmakers to pass a bill against hate crimes.

State Representative Ed Clere (District 72/New Albany) says the debate over including LGBT protections often is why the bill fails, but Clere says the time has come to pass a law that protects everyone.

“But I hope the growing need for hate crimes legislation will overcome the opposition and allow us to move forward,” Clere said. “It’s important and it’s time.”

Meet Dr. Earl Suttle: Fall Conference Keynote Speaker

“Dr. Earl gave us treasures and nuggets that we have immediately implemented, with respect to diversity recruitment and retention, and leadership development.”
— Alfred Dowe, Asst. Director of Recruitment and Community Outreach
University of Arkansas Graduate School and International Education

“Many, many thanks for your refreshing insights and positive approaches to coping with change during these challenging times of organizational downsizing.”
— Lili Ingram, MSW. Dept. of the Army

“Earl is one of the best presenters I’ve had the opportunity to hear on the subject of stress.”
— Leonard Burns, Lockwood Greene Engineering, Inc.

“Earl, this is our Ninth Annual Conference and the numerous favorable comments from the staff indicate this was the best presentation ever.”
— Tom Charron, Cobb County District Attorney

“Your ability to making others laugh is a precious gift. Thank you for making people’s loads lighter.”
— Judy Wilson, University of Georgia Conference Coordinator

Dr. Earl Suttle is the Founder and Chairman of Leadership Success International, LLC, an international training and consulting company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Suttle began his career as an elementary school teacher and guidance counselor and later earned his doctorate in Addiction Studies. He spent many years working in the healthcare profession, including positions in several addiction treatment programs prior to starting his own consulting business. Dr. Suttle is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker and best-selling author. His presentations will re-energize you and help you to focus on being your best self.


Register for the Fall 2018 POPAI Conference today

Lake Superior Judge Tavitas named to COA, succeeding Barnes

Full Article

The Indiana Lawyer on 07/25/2018 by Olivia Covington


Lake Superior Judge Elizabeth Tavitas was on the bench on July 18 when her phone rang with a message that would change her career. It was a call from Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, informing her that she had been selected as Indiana’s next Court of Appeals judge.

“I saw his (Holcomb’s) name light up on my cellphone, and I had to recess,” she said.

Though her waiting litigants kept Tavitas from celebrating immediately when she got the life-changing call from Holcomb last week, the judge was all smiles the next day when the governor publicly announced her as his pick to succeed now-Senior Judge Michael Barnes, who retired last month. The governor’s selection of Tavitas as the next COA judge marked the second time he has named an appellate judge – the first being Justice Christopher Goff’s appointment to the Indiana Supreme Court – and he said selecting the state’s highest jurists is a task he does not take lightly.

“Selections … to the top two highest courts – there’s no more important decision,” he said.

With the governor’s confidence placed in her, Tavitas pledged to be faithful to the rule of law once she ascends to the appellate court bench. And though she said she can never truly replace her predecessor, Tavitas also said she hopes to continue his legacy of humility and public service.

“I stand here as a public servant ready to serve this great state of Indiana at the next level,” Tavitas said.

Neglect or not? DCS study takes aim at CHINS statute

Full Article

The Indiana Lawyer on 07/25/2018 by Katie Stancombe

focus-chins-shutterstock_skybox-bp450.jpgIt’s not uncommon for the Indiana Department of Child Services to hear it doesn’t have enough evidence to support its child welfare cases. Children in need of services cases that enter the court often leave shredded by judges for lack of a sufficient reasoning as to why they came before the bench without enough evidence to back up the claims.

The majority of Indiana CHINS cases align with Indiana’s definition of neglect, which has fallen under recent scrutiny by state officials. In June, the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group presented a lengthy list of data and findings after Gov. Eric Holcomb asked for a study to be conducted into DCS earlier this year.

One of those recommendations suggested Indiana should re-examine its “broad and unqualified” statute of neglect, Indiana Code section 35-46-1-4. The study pointed out that although Indiana’s definition isn’t unusual, it does not explicitly limit welfare cases of neglect to exclude “poverty or occasional inattention or lapses in judgment” like neighboring states do.

The study also found Indiana child welfare cases saw a 63 percent increase in the past five years. That number is exceedingly high compared to surrounding states and national figures.

The study also noted Indiana’s rate of court involvement in those cases were even higher, and unusually so – 72 percent of Hoosier child victims have been involved in a court case, compared to 29 percent nationwide.

DCS critics fear the current definition might bring more child welfare cases than necessary into a system that’s already buckling under a heavy load. In 2017, 77 percent of Hoosier kids placed in foster care were removed due to neglect, according to the CWG study.

With a broad statute in place and a recommendation to narrow its language, one central question remains unanswered: what is the appropriate definition of “neglect” that should qualify for a CHINS finding?

2018 POPAI Election: Slate and Voting Information for the Contested Seat

The following candidates are slated for the 2018 POPAI Fall Election:

President: Adam McQueen

Secretary: Cherie Wood

District 2:

  • Cheryl Bartnick
  • Ryan Hull
  • Heather Malone

District 4: Lakisha Fisher

District 6: Andria Geigle

District 8: Mignon Ware


E. Voting
The President of the Association shall open the annual meeting of the Association for the election process. After the slate has been presented by the Election Committee, a vote by the voting membership of the Association shall be taken. Voting for Officers and District Representatives may be conducted by written ballot or by acclamation for uncontested elections.

Section 1. Request for Absentee Ballot. If a voting member cannot be present at the Annual Business Meeting, he/she may make a request to obtain an Absentee Ballot for the purpose of the election process by providing written notification to the Election Committee. Written notification to request an absentee ballot shall be received by the Election Committee no later than fifteen (15) business days prior to the annual meeting of the Association.

Section 2. Submitting Absentee Ballots. All Absentee Ballots must be submitted to the chair of the Election Committee by U.S. mail, via facsimile (fax), or via electronic mail at least three (3) business days prior to the first day of the annual meeting. Each ballot will be authenticated and tabulated in the manner provided by the Election Committee.

Election Chair: Melanie Pitstick –
200 E. Washington St. T-641 Indianapolis, IN 46204; Fax 317-327-4269

Election Committee: Bob Schuster, Sarah Lochner and Michael Coriell

We look forward to seeing you at the POPAI Fall Conference in French Lick!

Candidate Information

Continue reading →

Report coming on local opioid problem

Full Article

Journal Review on 7/25/2018 by Nick Hedrick

Stakeholders discuss ways to curb addiction

Police, health care providers and others at the center of the local opioid problem will soon receive a map for helping tackle drug abuse.

After months of gathering input, Montgomery United Fund For You’s United Against Opioid Abuse Project is completing a report that seeks to gauge the extent of the issue in Montgomery County and coordinate a response from local agencies.

Since the process began in January, coordinator Tami Foster said the focus has shifted from the impact of drugs to finding ways to address trauma and other factors that can play in to drug use.

“When we’re people focused, we tend to remove the shame, the guilt and the stigma — or at least it helps us to remove that — so we can focus on healing the person, which can then heal the community,” Foster said.

About 20 people including social workers, pastors, probation officers, health care professionals, recovering addicts and family members of those who’ve died from addiction gathered at the Crawfordsville District Public Library for the last in a series of community forums as part of the projects.

Rev. Brian Campbell, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church, said his congregation has joined other local clergy to discuss funding transitional housing for recovering addicts.

“The need is great for sure, and we all see it. It’s something we’ll all dealt with a lot,” Campbell said.

The county is taking the first steps to provide housing for some in the court system, including those who qualify for drug court but don’t have a place to live substance-free. Chief probation officer Andria Geigle said the county has to rely on churches to find hotel rooms for clients or house them in the jail.

Cracking down on opioid prescriptions is another key to fighting the problem, the group said. Doctors use a national database to track the amount of opioids given to each patient. Emergency rooms can also cross-check a system to prevent addicts from going to multiple hospitals for more pills.

Opioid prescription rates have declined statewide since 2011, according to the Montgomery County Health Department, one of six counties participating in the state’s Overdose Response Pilot Project.

The project allows the counties to access data on drug overdose patients from emergency rooms across Indiana.

Raising awareness of alternative pain management methods and encouraging patients to properly dispose old opioid prescriptions would prevent more people from becoming addicted, the stakeholders said.

Foster’s report is due in the next month. Copies will be provided to law enforcement agencies, courts, schools, social service agencies and health care professionals.

“I think it’s important that everybody has a chance to [review it] that… it doesn’t sit on the shelf and there will be next steps that come after that,” she said.

Opioid Summit seeks solutions to one of Indiana’s most pressing problems

Full Article on 7/26/2018 by Dan Carden

INDIANAPOLIS — The Hoosier State is at the center of America’s opioid drug abuse epidemic, so it’s up to Hoosiers to figure out how best to combat the scourge and prepare for the next one.

That motivation drew nearly 1,000 judicial, law enforcement, public health and community leaders from all 92 counties to the Indiana Convention Center Wednesday for the state’s first Opioid Summit.

During the daylong event, participants learned from state and national experts about the science of addiction, the benefits of medication-assisted treatment, what courts can do to help those struggling with addiction, jail-based treatment options, the effects of addiction on local government services — and the promise of recovery.

“To me, it’s unbelievable that we still don’t offer this treatment to everybody. It’s like withholding chemotherapy from cancer patients.” — Dr. Leslie Hulvershorn, medical director at the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. Continue reading →

Judge, doctors speak in support of medication-assisted treatment at opioid summit

Full Article

Herald Times on 7/25/2018 by Laura Lane

INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of criminal justice professionals tasted the cruel reality of the state’s opioid crisis when Marion Superior Court Judge William Nelson played a chilling 911 call from a mother who had just found her 20-year-old son dead from an overdose.

The 90-second recording of the despondent and sobbing woman filled the ballroom at the Indiana Convention Center Wednesday morning at the start of a statewide opioid summit called “A Medication-Assisted Treatment and Addictions Primer for Justice Professionals.”

Eyes welled. Middle-aged men removed their glasses and brushed away tears. No one spoke as the mother wailed.

“My wife made that call,” said Nelson, a judge the past 25 years. Continue reading →

Thinking Outside the Cell: Software Cuts Recidivism Among Texas’ Mentally Ill

Full Article

The Crime Report on 7/9/ 2018 by Laura Binczewski

In Dallas County, Texas, the main outlet of psychiatric care for those with mental illness is no longer the corrections system.

A five-year initiative aimed at bridging the gap between the legal and medical communities is successfully diverting justice-involved mentally ill individuals to effective treatment programs.

The key to the program is technology. The initiative uses software created by HarrisLogic, a Missouri-based technology and clinical services company that allows information about mentally ill individuals who fall afoul of the law to be shared among law enforcement, courts and health care providers.

Experts say such a tech-based approach could be critical to reducing overcrowding in U.S. jails.

There are now nearly ten times the number of mentally ill patients behind bars than those residing in the remaining state hospitals, according to a 2014 report by the Treatment Advocacy Center, an Arlington, Va.-based national nonprofit focused on mental illness issues.

A prime example is the Dallas County Jail, whose jurisdiction stretches from the cities of Carrollton to Mesquite, to just outside of Arlington. Dallas County’s major detention center, the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, is the second largest mental health facility in Texas, according to the County Sheriff’s Office. Continue reading →

2018 Legislative Summary

Full Article

Indiana Court Times on 6/21/2018 by Court Times. Compiled By: Amanda R. Wishin | Research Attorney, Indiana Office of Court Services

New immunities

  • Community corrections officers and probation officers who administer an overdose intervention drug. S.E.A. 13, P.L. 4.
  • A guardian ad litem program and court appointed special advocate program when a child is placed on a waiting list for guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate services. S.E.A. 135, P.L. 120.
  • Fire department that operates a newborn safety device. S.E.A. 340, P.L. 205.
  • A person who assists and a health care provider who provides professional intervention in an investigation by the Department of Child Services (DCS) resulting from a report that a child may be a victim of child abuse or neglect. S.E.A. 431, P.L. 106.
  • An adult protective services unit or a DCS caseworker who makes a report of animal cruelty, abandonment, or neglect. S.E.A. 431, P.L. 106.
  • Employer for negligent hiring of employee participating in certain substance abuse treatment. H.E.A. 1007, P.L. 195.
  • Landowner that allows another person on their property to access a trail, a greenway, a park, or another similar area used for recreational purposes. H.E.A. 1115, P.L. 29.

Continue reading →

Public Safety + Public Health Opioid Conference: August 14, 2018

Indiana State Department of Health

Community Solutions: United to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

Register for the 2018 Public Safety + Public Health Opioid Conference being held on Tuesday, August 14th at 502 East Event Centre in Carmel, IN.

Cost: $25


The goal of this conference is to showcase how Public Safety and Public Health are strategic partners in the fight against the opioid epidemic.


This activity has been approved by the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board. Participating Law Enforcement Officers, Support Personnel, and Emergency Services Providers are eligible to receive up to 4.5 hours of credit hours.

You can register for the conference by clicking on the banner below or clicking here:

The conference agenda is here .

Feel free to share this with your colleagues.

If you have any questions, please contact

Submit Nominations for The Founder’s, “Rookie” Probation Officer of the Year, and Line Probation Officer of the Year Awards before August 6

Nominations are being accepted until August 6, 2018 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.

Nominees for Line Officer and Rookie Probation Officer shall be current POPAI members.

The recipients of the Rookie of the Year and Line Probation Officer of the Year will win:

  • 2019 Fall Conference Registration Fees
  • Their next year’s POPAI Membership

Nomination forms and supporting documentation must be received by August 6, 2018. Please send nomination forms and support letters via U.S. mail, fax or email to:

Bob Schuster
LaPorte County Adult Probation
809 State Street, Suite 101
LaPorte, IN 46350

Links to Forms:

Any questions, contact Bob at 219-326-6808 Ext. 2511 or your POPAI District Representative

Follow Up: Judge explains why he gave day care provider who hanged toddler probation

Full Article on 7/17/2018

MINNEAPOLIS (KARE11) – A judge’s choice to hand down probation instead of prison time to former day care provider Nataliia Karia, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder, is getting a lot of reaction.

“The trauma her victims suffered is undeniable,” said Karia’s attorney Brock Hunter. “I’m sure many of them will be scarred for the rest of their life psychologically. Some physically. So given the circumstances, I can understand how someone not aware of the background that led up to her behavior would be surprised that she did not get prison.”

Judge Jay Quam took that background of alleged abuse and Karia’s mental state into account in giving his sentence.

“This has been one of the hardest cases I’ve ever had,” Quam began, in giving a 20-minute speech Monday explaining his sentence.

“I would love to be able to make everyone’s pain go away. I can’t do that,” Quam said.

That much was clear.

Everything else about the case of the day care provider who hurt three people, hanging a toddler then running over two men, was much less clear.

Doctors say Nataliia Karia suffered from mental illness that day. In fact, Judge Quam read from reports from doctors he appointed who say what she did was completely because of her mental illness.

One doctor wrote that if she fought the charges, she wouldn’t be held responsible.

And another wrote she’s very unlikely to re-offend.

Judge Quam said the safe choice for him would be to give her 13 years in prison.

“That’s the safest thing. There’s no possibility there’s a story written about me that says I let a baby-killer loose to harm again. That’s the safest thing to do. But I don’t know that it’s the right thing to do,” Quam said.

Instead, Quam ruled that her mental illness justifies a lower sentence. And if she follows exactly her mental health plan – then probation is more appropriate than prison.

“I’m going to put you on probation for 10 years. If you make it through 10 years, I have absolutely no doubt that all this will be safe, and that I will have made the right choice here today,” Quam said.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman would not comment on the sentence.

Hunter said while on probation, Karia will be treated by Dr. Jennifer Service, who was the top psychologist at the St. Peter Security Hospital when she was employed by the state.

“I don’t think there is anyone better in the state to supervise Nataliia for her mental health during the time she’s on probation,” Hunter said. Continue reading →