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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ind. Courts - More on "Indiana court rulings make it harder to prosecute child abusers, advocates say"

Updating this post from Friday -- although Matt Tully's column was available online Friday, it did not appear in the Indianapolis Star newspaper until this morning.

The long story included this quote from Prof. Joel Schumm (a valued contributor to the ILB):

Some are defending the court’s rulings. Joel Schumm, a respected professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, said the rulings could make prosecutions more difficult, but he believes they have brought into better balance the scales of justice.
When I checked the online comments to Tully's story this morning, I was very surprised to read this comment from the subject of Tully's column:
Laurie Gray · Founder & Principal at Socratic Parenting LLC

Thank you, Matt, for sharing this important news with your readers. As I read the first two comments, I realize that everyone wants to be tough on convicted sex offenders—enforcing harsher punishments and requiring more stringent sex offender registration.

It’s this type of vengeance that weighs most heavily against defendants and raises concern for those like Professor Schumm, who want to “balance the scales.” But two wrongs don’t make a right.

Professor Schumm’s opinions are academic and his experience is on paper rather than with people. He graduated from law school in 1998, served as a judicial clerk in the Indiana Appellate and Supreme Courts for three years and then became a law professor. Those who have never tried a child molesting case for either the State or the defense, have no experience is working with children, and perhaps never even observed a child on the stand at trial are making blanket decisions that children do not tell the truth and should not be believed. Silencing children does not bring us closer to the truth.

Really! The ILB could not let this pass. Joel Schumm is the last person I would pidgeon-hole as an Ivy Tower professor. Consider a few quotes I have taken directly from a public document, his application last summer to fill an upcoming Court of Appeals vacancy:The ILB has also received this note from an Indiana judge:
I regularly tell my students at SPEA that I have often thought that the only thing near as bad as a child molester is someone who falsely accused someone of being a child molester. Equal with our obligation to protect our children is the obligation that the innocent are never falsely convicted. The accusation alone carries with it a lifetime of suspicion regardless the evidence. We have made great strides in this area of the law on both sides in the past 50 years. Flippant comments like hers only retard that growth on BOTH sides. Failure to see that merely demonstrates we still have far to go.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 19, 2013 07:45 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions