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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ind. Law - Man challenges Plainfield ordinance banning anyone listed on the Indiana Sex Offender Registry from entering all parks and recreational areas operated by the town. [More]

The Indianapolis Star reports today, in a story by Michael Dabney, that:

A convicted sex offender who lives in Marion County is challenging a Plainfield ordinance banning him from the town's parks and recreation areas.

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union filed suit in Hendricks Superior Court on behalf of the man, who is identified only as John Doe. It says a portion of the town ordinance banning anyone listed on the Indiana Sex Offender Registry from Plainfield parks is unconstitutional. "He should have the same rights as all citizens, absent of a showing that he is a risk," ICLU Legal Director Kenneth Falk said Tuesday.

But town officials insist the ban adopted in 2002 is justified. "Our ordinance doesn't taint anyone. They are already tainted because they are on the sex registry," said Town Council President Robin Brandgard. "Knowing that there are sex offenders out there, we wanted to protect the citizens of Plainfield, particularly the children."

Sound familiar? See this Feb. 24, 2005 ILB entry titled "John Doe v. City of Lafayette will not be appealed." A quote from that entry: "In a split en banc decision from July 30, 2004, the 7th Circuit affirmed 8-3 Judge Sharp's (ND Ind.) ruling upholding the City of Lafayette's lifetime banning of convicted sex offender Doe from the City's parks." The Lafayette case involved a letter sent to John Doe by authorities banning him from the park "after authorities received a tip that he had been watching children at Murdock Park and having sexual thoughts about them."

We have an Indiana Court of Appeals case, Travis v. State (7/28/04), relating to the banning of an individual from a Kokomo park. As reported in the Layayette Journal & Courier at the time:

The state appeals court said a Kokomo police officer overstepped his authority when he saw Stephen L. Travis sitting on a city park bench in September 2002 and arrested him for trespass. Another officer, Greg Baldini, had encountered Travis and some other people gambling in the park two days earlier and told him not to come back or he would be arrested for trespass.

"We don't think the Kokomo case has any bearing on the John Doe case," Withered said. "First, the Kokomo situation was a criminal trespassing case, whereas this is a civil ban of Mr. Doe from city parks.

"Secondly, the Kokomo case involved a police officer issuing a ban to the individual, and the court of appeals held that the police officer had no legal authority to do so. Here, it was the city parks department, which actually controls all of the park property, which issued the ban to Mr. Doe."

And here, from Sept. 28, 2005, is an ILB entry quoting from the South Bend Tribune:
Michigan City's ban on convicted child molester Robert E. Brown from its public parks has been upheld in federal court. * * *

Robert L. Miller Jr., a judge in U.S. District Court in South Bend, ruled last week the Parks Department acted within its bounds when it passed a resolution in 2002 prohibiting Brown from the parks.

Among Brown's arguments were that the resolution violated his right to due process as well as his civil liberties by being labeled a threat to children. * * *

In his 27-page ruling, Miller said Brown's right to due process was not violated because he was given a chance to answer to the allegations at the public meeting.

The case is Robert Brown v. City of Michigan City (ND Ind., 9/19/05), available, via the ILB, here.

[More, 12:52 PM]
] I just read Ed Feigenbaum's Indiana Daily Insight and see that an item, that my eyes must have glazed over when I read the blog yesterday, is relevant today. Ed reports:
(TUES) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is being asked to hear an appeal in Brown v. City of Michigan City (05-3912). As framed by one of the briefs, this case looks remarkably similar to another recent one involving a Tippecanoe County man and the City of Lafayette. "For more than a quarter of a century Robert Brown has visited a park bordering on Lake Michigan in Michigan City, Indiana. He stays in his truck for an hour or two each day and does not leave the vehicle. When Michigan City discovered in 2002 that Mr. Brown had been convicted of child molesting in 1995, Michigan City issued an order banning Mr. Brown from all parks in Michigan City. Is the ban order a violation of procedural due process inasmuch as it was entered without proper notice and without a proper opportunity to be heard and because it was entered based on no ascertainable standards and without a proper hearing? 2. Is the ban order a violation of substantive due process because it is fundamentally irrational?"

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 14, 2005 08:41 AM
Posted to Indiana Law