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COA Remands for Clarification of Vague Probation Conditions

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Indiana Lawyer on 03/20/2018 by Olivia Covington

The Vigo Superior Court must provide a man convicted of resisting and spitting on local law enforcement officers with a written list of his specific probation conditions after the Indiana Court of Appeals found discrepancies and vagueness in the conditions provided.

In Dustin McCarty v. State of Indiana, 84A04-1707-CR-1599, a Terre Haute police officer encountered Dustin McCarty while responding to another call and arrested him after discovering an outstanding warrant. While being transported to the Vigo County Jail, McCarty spit on the officer, Philip Ralston twice and put up a fight when other officers attempted to remove him from the vehicle and place him in a mobile incarceration unit.

After McCarty was found guilty of Class D felony battery by bodily waste and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, the Vigo Superior Court sentenced him to 2½ years, with credit for 290 days served and the remainder sentenced to probation. The court imposed standard terms of probation, including terms that required him to “avoid persons and places of harmful character,” and to “(not) consume alcohol in a lawful manner unless ordered to abstain …”, with the word “not” handwritten into the term.

McCarty appealed his probation terms, and the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with his argument that the trial court erred in failing to provide him with written probation conditions at his sentencing. Judge Paul Mathias wrote Tuesday that McCarty did not receive written notice of his conditions until a meeting with his probation officer four days after sentencing. Mathias also noted that the conditions McCarty was provided erroneously imposed a complete alcohol ban.

Rather than a complete ban, Mathias said the trial court had orally ordered McCarty to undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation, but that condition was not included in the written statement. Considering those discrepancies, the appellate court remanded the case with instructions to correct the altered alcohol-related probation condition and to provide a new listing that explicitly requires McCarty to undergo the evaluation.

“Although the trial court erred when it failed to provide McCarty with written conditions of probation at sentencing, the record does not indicate that McCarty violated, or was arrested and charged with violating, any terms of that probation in the four-day period between sentencing and his first appointment with the probation department,” Mathias wrote. “For this reason, we can find that error to be harmless error.”

McCarty also challenged the relevance of the order for him to undergo the evaluation, but considering his subsequent conviction of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication, the appellate panel determined the condition was reasonably related to his rehabilitation. However, the panel agreed that the prohibition on his association with “persons and places of harmful character” was impermissibly vague and, thus, remanded for the trial court to provide clarity.

Indiana 1st in Country to Use Software to Connect those with Addiction to Drug Treatment

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Indianapolis Star on 03/16/2018 by Shari Rudavsky

Linking people with substance use disorders to the treatment they need to kick their addiction has just become easier in Indiana.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Thursday announced a new partnership with a software platform that can help social workers find openings at treatment facilities. The partnership, funded by money from the 21st Century Cures Act, also includes Indiana 2-1-1, a local non-profit that helps provides referrals for a variety of social services.

In the past 18 months, FSSA has increased residential treatment capacity by 26 percent, spending $10.9 million of federal funds to do so.

“Now our challenge is this: How do we connect people with open beds?” said Dr. Jennifer Walthall, FSSA secretary.

Administration of Overdose Intervention Drug

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Court Services on 3-28-18

S.E.A. 13, P.L. 4
Effective: July 1, 2018

Provides that community corrections officers and probation officers may administer an overdose intervention drug. Requires community corrections officers and probation officers to report the use of an overdose intervention drug to the emergency ambulance service responsible for reporting the use to the Indiana emergency medical services commission. Requires that persons permitted to administer an overdose intervention drug must receive education and training on drug overdose response and treatment, including the administration of an overdose intervention drug before the person may administer an overdose intervention drug. Provides civil immunity to community corrections officers and probation officers who administer an overdose intervention drug. Provides civil immunity to a person who has an agency relationship with a community corrections officer or probation officer who administers an overdose intervention drug.

Read the bill at:

Indiana Office of Court Services Issues Memo Regarding Quarterly Reports

To: Circuit, Superior, and Probate Courts, City and Town Courts, Marion County Small Claims Courts
From: Jeffrey S. Wiese, Deputy Director of Legal Support
Date: March 14, 2018

New Procedure for Courts with Late Quarterly or Annual Statistical Reports

Ind. Administrative Rule 1 and Ind. Administrative Rule 2 require courts and probation departments to file statistical reports with the Indiana Office of Court Services (IOCS). These reports are filed electronically on INcite, using the Indiana Courts Online Reports (ICOR) application.

IOCS can no longer be as lenient with deadlines as we were in the past. We are receiving more requests for this information plus this data is necessary to produce other reports used by the Court, the General Assembly, and the public. A new procedure is being implemented for courts with delinquent reports.

  • Two weeks after the report’s due date, one mass email will be sent to judges and report
    preparers of all courts with a missing report.
  • The email will explain your court has a late report and the missing report must be
    submitted within one week.
  • If the report is not received by this new deadline, the judges’ names will be sent to the
    IOCS Executive Director.

For more information on reports please see “Statistical Reporting: Quarterly & Annual Reports” in the Trial Court Administration Manual for Judges and Clerks available at or email IOCS Deputy Director Jeff Wiese

PDF original document

Justice Services Conference, May 9-11

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The Justice Services Conference will be held May 9-11, 2018. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Omni Severin Hotel, Indianapolis, IN 46225, at a group rate of $119/night.

This conference is open to probation officers and their supervising judge, court alcohol and drug program judges, program directors, program staff and education facilitators and all team members of certified problem-solving courts or problem-solving courts in the planning stages.

To register for the conference of hotel, please visit the main probation website under “News and Announcements” at:


Missing: Criminal Justice Data

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New York Times on 03/21/2018 by Amy Bach

Criminal justice data in this country is hard to come by. It can be messy and difficult to understand. And in many cases, the data doesn’t exist at all.

How many people are in jail? For what crimes? For how long? Are people in jail mostly awaiting trial? Are they there for being unable to pay bail of $500 or less? You might think we know the answers to these basic questions, but we don’t.

Missing data is at the core of a national crisis.  The United States leads the industrialized world in incarceration. With nearly 5 percent of the planet’s population and almost a quarter of its prison population, the country has invested a tremendous amount of money in the corrections system without the statistics necessary to tell us whether that money is actually reducing crime, improving fairness or lessening recidivism. State and federal spending on corrections has grown more than 300 percent over the past 20 years — becoming one of the fastest-growing line items in state budgets.


MRNISO Spring Training

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WHEN: Friday, April 13, 2018
WHERE: The Hornet Park Community Center in Beech Grove, IN
WHO: Special guest featuring Patty Wetterling! Patty is the mother of Jacob Wetterling, who was abducted at the age of 11, by a masked gunman on October 22, 1989 near his home in St. Joseph, Minnesota.  Jacob’s remains were discovered on September 2, 2016 on a farm in Paynesville, MN.  Patty has become a nationally recognized educator on the issues of child abduction and sexual exploitation of children.

COST: $75 Earlybird (includes one year membership)
$100 Standard Registration (also includes one year membership)

The Homeless-Campus Concept Catches On

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Governing: the States and Localities on 3/13/2018 by J.B. Wogan

As homelessness rises nationwide, Las Vegas is taking a gamble on a new way of helping the homeless. But some say it’s money that could be better spent.

On a single night in January last year, almost 6,500 people were counted as homeless in Clark County, Nev., and about 67 percent of them were sleeping on the street instead of in a shelter — a four-year high. The county isn’t just known as the home of Sin City. It also has one of the top 10 largest homeless populations in the country.

That’s what has driven Las Vegas to take a gamble on a new way of helping the homeless.

In the past year, the city allocated about $5.9 million to demolish old buildings and replace them with a 4.5-acre campus for homeless people to escape the streets and get help. It officially opened this month, and when sleeping accommodations are added in May, it will be one of the first campuses of its kind in the country.

During the day, nonprofits at the site help people find housing and jobs, sign up for public benefits and access mental health and addiction treatment services. There are temporary toilets, handwashing stations and portable showers. The campus is scheduled to get sleeping mats, shaded structures and storage for people’s belongings in May. In the meantime, people return to the streets at night.

“This is really a triage center for homeless individuals who won’t or can’t go into traditional shelters,” says Kathi Thomas-Gibson, who manages the city’s Office of Community Services. “At our mainstream shelters, you have to be sober. At our courtyard, you don’t. You come as you are and plug into the services you need to get to the next step.”

The project is a departure from the conventional wisdom that the best way to end homelessness is by expanding the supply of affordable housing. Las Vegas officials say they had no choice.

“It might take 18-24 months to bring an affordable housing development online, and we need interventions that are here and now,” says Thomas-Gibson.

Las Vegas is drawing inspiration from Haven for Hope, a homeless campus in San Antonio, Texas, that has an outdoor courtyard as well as dorms. Haven for Hope, however, places certain conditions — such as sobriety — on sleeping indoors.

For some, the concept brings homeless encampments — or so-called “tent cities” — to mind. Some places have allowed tent cities to pop up on vacant parcels of land even though the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness has advised against it.

Legal encampments end up costing cities money because public agencies are responsible for maintaining the health and safety of people living there — money that might otherwise go to permanent housing, the Council argued in 2015.

But at a time when homelessness is on the rise for the first time since the recession, some homeless advocates now say tent cities may be a necessary evil until housing becomes available.

“For a long time, we took the position that city-run legalized encampments was admitting defeat,” says Eric Tars, a senior attorney at National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, which published new principles about encampments in December. “Now we’ve come to a more nuanced position.”

“I don’t think anybody should be comfortable with the existence of encampments in what remains the wealthiest country in the world,” he says. But if encampments have the services needed to get people housed, “there can be a role for it,” he says.

Thomas-Gibson, however, objects to calling the campus in Las Vegas a tent city.

“It’s a homeless resource center. People are not going to be pitching tents and bringing all their shopping carts,” she says. “And they’re not coming to stay forever. They’re coming to get connected for whichever service makes sense for each individual’s situation.”

At the moment, the city is funding the project by itself, but officials are trying to convince neighboring governments and the business community to shoulder some of the costs. (San Antonio’s campus relies heavily on funding from private sources.) Thomas-Gibson says outside funders need help understanding how the campus works.

“It’s a new concept,” she says. “Something like this has not been done in Southern Nevada.”

Still, not everyone is convinced that the benefits outweigh the costs.

“I think the danger is that you spend so much money on a project that basically maintains people in homelessness and isn’t really focused on ending homelessness,” says Kirsten Anderson from the Southern Legal Counsel, which provides legal aid to low-income people and has been critical of a similar project in Pinellas County, Fla., that turned a vacant jail into a homeless shelter with an outdoor courtyard where drunk tenants sleep.

“Communities that I think are doing a really good job are investing money in housing and not just building another homeless shelter or homeless service center,” she says.

But Thomas-Gibson sees it differently. Expanding the supply of affordable housing takes time and isn’t a realistic option for some of the homeless in Las Vegas, she says. People with a severe mental illness, for example, may need treatment before they’re in the right state of mind to sign a lease.

“There are a number of causes for homelessness, so we need a number of solutions,” she says. “We don’t subscribe to a magic bullet theory. There’s no single answer. There’s lots of answers.”


Sentence upheld for woman amid tooth cream drug defense

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Kokomo Tribune on 03/16/2018 by Scott L. Miley

INDIANAPOLIS — A Madison County woman who claimed that some of the illegal drugs found in her system were from an uncle’s tooth cream had her probation violation upheld Friday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Ashlee K. Pierce, 34, of Alexandria had appealed her two-year sentence for probation violation from Madison Circuit Court.

The case goes back to a 2009 theft case in which she received a two-year sentence that was suspended to probation. In 2013, she was charged with probation violation but given a second chance and ordered back on probation.

In July 2017, a probation officer obtained a urine sample from Pierce and it showed positive results for drugs. She said she had a prescription for methadone for an opiate addiction and Vyvanse for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A subsequent test showed methadone, amphetamine, methamphetamine, morphine, cocaine and fentanyl were in her system.

She was charged with probation violation in part for failing to abstain from the use of illegal drugs.

During her July 31, 2017, court hearing, she said she had a prescription for methadone for her opiate addiction and should have tested for amphetamine because of the Vyvanse. She denied using the other drugs but said the methamphetamine, morphine, cocaine and fentanyl could have been in a tooth cream used by her uncle.

It might have been in her system because of her being in his house, she claimed.

However, the Madison Circuit Judge Thomas Newman found her in violation of probation and ordered her to serve the two-year sentence.

The appellate court said it would not reweigh her claims.

The state appellate court found that due process was followed by Newman. Pierce is set to be released from prison in July.

DePauw frat partners with probation departments to teach interviewing skills

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Banner Graphic on 03/05/2018 by JARED JERNAGAN

When a co-worker at Putnam County Adult Probation spoke about a problem one of her clients was facing recently, case manager Kelli Stevens had the seed of an idea.

Probation officer Malachi Taylor was meeting with a client, speaking with her about the need for a job in order to move forward for both the client and her children.

What she found was that the client was unprepared and nervous about interviewing for even a basic foodservice job.

After listening to the story, Stevens reached out to her son, Jonah Jones-Stevens, a sophomore management fellow at DePauw University.

Kelli thought that maybe Jonah could help with some interviewing and resume skills for such clients.

“I sent my son a message asking if he could help somehow with a resume and he said, ‘For sure,’” Stevens said.

As the philanthropy chairman for Beta Theta Pi, Jones-Stevens immediately saw a way for his house to make a difference in the Putnam County community. When he reached out to his fraternity brothers, the response was immediate.

“Within an hour, he had a great response,” Stevens said.

Calling the program Beta Bridge, the Betas are partnering with adult and juvenile probation, both Putnam County courts and the prosecutor’s office to help prepare for the job application and interview process.

COA upholds denial of race-based Batson challenge

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The Indiana Lawyer on March 16, 2018 by Olivia Covington

A Madison County man who alleged the state challenged a potential juror for race-based reasons has lost his appeal, with the Indiana Court of Appeals finding the record of the robbery trial does not support the argument that the juror was released because he was black.

In Steven Wade Childress v. State of Indiana, 48A02-1707-CR-1658, Steven Childress and two companions tricked Darren Sloss into coming to visit them, then attacked him at gunpoint when he arrived. Sloss was beaten and pistol-whipped, saw Childress rummaging through his car, and was eventually robbed of $200 that was in his wallet.

Sloss reported the robbery, and Childress was charged with Level 3 felony armed robbery. After voir dire, the state made a peremptory challenge to Potential Juror 8, which Childress challenged with a Batson claim on the basis that Potential Juror 8 was the only remaining black juror.

The prosecutor, however, noted that when Potential Juror 8 was asked what reasonable doubt meant, the juror responded with “no doubt.” Though Potential Juror 2 gave a similar answer and was not dismissed, that juror eventually changed her response, while Potential Juror 8 did not, the prosecutor said. The Madison Circuit Court agreed and denied the Batson challenge, and Childress was found guilty as charged.

he Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of Childress’ Batson challenge in a Friday opinion, with Judge Terry Crone initially noting the trial transcript was incomplete. Many portions of the transcript were labeled “indiscernible,” Crone said, while each juror was identified as “prospective juror,” making it impossible to determine which potential juror made which statements.

Though it was incomplete, Crone went on to write that the transcript did show that neither defense counsel nor the trial court disputed the prosecutor’s claim that Potential Juror 8 thought “reasonable doubt” meant “no doubt.” Thus, the appellate court determined Childress failed to prove the prosecutor’s alleged misrepresentation of the potential juror’s answer undermined his race-neutral reasoning for the peremptory challenge.

The court then found the prosecutor was not required to re-examine Potential Juror 8 after he gave his questionable answer. Finally, the panel determined that because Potential Juror 2 eventually changed her answer to the proper meaning of “reasonable doubt” – which Potential Juror 8 did not do – it could not be said that the challenge to Potential Juror 8 was racially motivated.

Apply for the 2018 Donald “Charley” Knepple Scholarship Award

Donald “Charley” Knepple

Submit your application to be considered for the Donald “Charley” Knepple Scholarship Award. The winner will be announced at the 2018 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

Apply on or before April 16, 2018

Questions? Contact Bob Schuster, Chair of Awards and Recognition Committee at 219-326-6808 Ext. 2511 or your POPAI District Representative.

Members Only Content: Legislative Update

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I’ve posted the most recent report from The LegisGroup in the Members Only area (log in required).

It includes those bills you’ve been watching that remained alive into the second half of the session. With that report, you can see the point in the process at which any now-bills died.

Problems logging in? Just email me at

Karen Oeding
POPAI Website Administrator

Webb: K2 isn’t synthetic marijuana. But chemically, it’s a mystery

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Evansville Courier and Press on 03/07/2018 by Jon Webb

So many people were vomiting, and emergency responders didn’t know why.

Eight people between Second and Third avenues in Evansville were found sick, unconscious or a mix of the two last Thursday. Fearing some kind of mass overdose, the Evansville Fire Department administered Narcan, but it didn’t work.

After speaking to the victims, police and fire officials determined the likely culprit: K-2.

“We’re thinking it was the same batch or at least the same supplier,” Ron Campbell, chief of operations for the EFD, told the Courier & Press.

Opioids rightfully get most of the attention in Evansville’s battle against drug abuse, but K2, also known as Spice and several other brand names, has been a lower-level scourge in the area for years.

K2 was responsible for two deaths in Vanderburgh County last year, according to coroner Steve Lockyear. And Terrence Roach, the man accused of killing Aleah Beckerle, allegedly told police he was high on the drug when he kidnapped the disabled teen in 2016.

It’s also been blamed in several local DUI cases. And on Monday, an Evansville man was arrested and accused of manufacturing the drug after police reportedly discovered more than two pounds of the stuff inside his house.

So what is it?

Chemically, it changes constantly. But we do know what it’s not.

It’s often called “synthetic marijuana” because the two drugs share a passing resemblance. But if K2 is synthetic marijuana, then cocaine is synthetic sugar.

The two drugs have nothing in common aside from their appearance. Whereas weed gives you feelings of euphoria and makes you giggle, K2 can either transform you into a lumbering zombie or a flailing maniac.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, it can inflict users with “anxiety, agitation, nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure, shaking and seizures, hallucinations and paranoia, and they may act violently.”

Robert Glatter, an emergency room doctor in New York, told NPR in 2015 that it often takes multiple nurses and physicians to strap down overdose victims because they become “violent and very strong.” As I was writing this on Tuesday, Evansville-Vanderburgh Dispatch fielded a call about a possible K2 user screeching at customers and workers inside the North Main Street McDonald’s.

The reason the reactions vary? Because the drug does, too.

K2 is created by spraying chemicals on dried plants. Labs that have tested the compounds in K2 have found everything from bath salts to generic ecstasy. According to the NPR report, traces of opioids have been found in different batches as well.

The rotating cast of ingredients made it difficult for Indiana to outlaw synthetic drugs. Until a few years ago, you could buy the stuff at gas stations.

Appeals court: Indiana’s ‘spice’ law too vague

The 2014 law had to declare more than 80 compounds illegal in drug manufacturing, and the Indiana Court of Appeals said the legislation was too wide-reaching and confusing to enforce. After a long fight, however, the state Supreme Court eventually gave it the green light.

Some lawmakers think that’s still not enough. There’s a skinny chance manufacturers could create K2 out of a chemical not included in that Tolstoy novel of a law, state Sen. Jim Merritt told me last fall.

“All the sudden you change the molecules and it’s now legal again,” Merritt said.

That uncertainty is what makes K2 so vexing. The batch that turned part of Evansville into a three-block vomitorium was laced with some unknown chemical. Local officials will pin it down eventually, but the next batch could be different. So could the batch after that.

Marilyn Huestis, a chief researcher at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, summed it up best.

“It’s like taking a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle and throwing it up in the air and piecing it together without a picture,” she told NPR. “So here we are in the hospital or police lab, and they have no idea what to look for.”

Indiana State Police make arrest after man is stabbed while playing ‘game’ on MegaBus

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Fox 59 News on 3/7/18

SEYMOUR, Ind. – Two people were arrested after police say a man was stabbed while “playing a game” on a MegaBus traveling through Indiana.

Officers with the Seymour Police Department and Indiana State Police troopers responded to a stabbing report around 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

According to investigators, the stabbing occurred while the bus was traveling on I-65 southbound, just north of Seymour. Xavier Collins, 19, of Chicago, was transported to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour for non-life threatening injuries to his leg.

Lebria Graham, 19, of Chicago, was detained for questioning. The suspected weapon was recovered from the scene.

Detectives determined the pair was playing a “game” with a knife when Collins was stabbed in the leg. Graham was arrested on charges of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and battery with a deadly weapon.

Collins became uncooperative in the investigation and provided a false name to investigators. After being treated and released from the hospital, Collins was arrested on charges of obstruction of justice and false informing.

They were both transported to the Jackson County Jail.