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Monday, November 21, 2005

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court posts (1) order accepting Pfaff resignation; and (2) order retracting transfer grant in sex offender visitation by minors case

Two orders were posted on the Supreme Court website late today.

In the Matter of L. Benjamin Pfaff is labeled "Published Order Accepting Resignation." The Court ordered the following:

L. Benjamin Pfaff’s resignation from office is accepted and is effective as of today;

Respondent is permanently prohibited from seeking or accepting any judicial office and from serving in any judicial capacity in Indiana;

Costs and expenses of this action are assessed against Respondent and will be set forth in a separate order;

Judge Pfaff’s suspension from the practice of law in Indiana shall remain in effect until the costs assessed against him in this matter are paid in full as acknowledged by a notice of payment in full filed by the Supreme Court Administrator with the Clerk of this Court; and

This order constitutes a finding of professional discipline that would be required to be reported to other jurisdictions in which Respondent might seek admission as a lawyer.

Jane Doe, et al v. J. David Donahue, also issued today, is labeled "Published Order Vacating Prior Order Granting Transfer." It is a one-page document. Some quotes:
By order dated September 28, 2005, the Court granted a petition seeking transfer of jurisdiction of this appeal from the Court of Appeals to this Court. After further review, including oral argument, a majority of the Court has determined that transfer was improvidently granted. Accordingly, the order granting transfer is VACATED and transfer is DENIED. The Court of Appeals opinion reported as Doe v. Donahue, 829 N.E.2d 99 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), is no longer vacated under Appellate Rule 58(A) and is reinstated as Court of Appeals precedent. Pursuant to Appellate Rule 58(B), this appeal is at an end. * * *

All Justices concur, except Boehm and Rucker, JJ., who believe transfer was properly granted.

Here is the 25-page Court of Appeals opinion in Doe v. Donahue. Donahue is the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections. See this ILB entry from 11/10/05 for more information. It includes this quote from a Mike Smith AP story:
A state prison policy violates Indiana law and the U.S. Constitution by prohibiting virtually all visitation between minors and child sex offenders, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union told the state Supreme Court yesterday.
The result here? Rather than affirming the Court of Appeals decision in favor of the state policy, the Court retracted its grant of transfer, perhaps so as not to establish a precedent.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 21, 2005 05:30 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions