The concept that you are “innocent until proven guilty by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt” is a cornerstone of the American legal system. Arising out of this important legal concept is what is known as the rule of lenity. The rule of lenity requires that criminal statutes be strictly construed against the drafter (the State), and any ambiguities or uncertainties that exist within the statute are to be applied in the manner most favorable to the defendant. The reasoning behind this is that an individual, who is presumed innocent, should not be held criminally liable due to some vague penal ...
September 5, 2018CD
Several years ago, the Legislature passed an expungement statutory scheme to “expungement” or remove old felonies and other arrest and misdemeanor convictions occurring in Indiana from a person’s criminal history. Expunged crimes were basically removed from a person’s criminal history, with the exception of certain uses by law enforcement or in the case of subsequent crimes. These expungement statutes recognized people change over a long period of time. However, many remained “haunted” and limited in their daily life by an old criminal history. This is despite the fact that they had been model and productive citizens afterward. Most of us are ...
January 9, 2018CD
Just a few years ago, there were exceedingly narrow ways an Indiana felon could have his or her record cleared up to “remove” the felony. For example, the person who committed a felony years ago and had not been in legal trouble since that time was likely not a felony risk to society and should not have the stigma. Also, felonies—even old felonies—barred many employment opportunities. Contrariwise, some old felonies were awful crimes, such as child molesting or rape and there was no societal, judicial, or legislative will to provide relief. However, expungement statutes were ultimately introduced into the General Assembly. ...
November 14, 2017CD
To address a parent’s failure to pay child support for a child born within a marriage or out of wedlock, certain levels of non-support have thresholds that have been addressed by statutes. For example, at the state-level, there are statutes that make non-support a felony to prohibiting a licensed professional from renewal. Under federal law, a significant child support arrearage may cause non-renewal or issuance of United States Passport. Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided an important case that shows the ways to potentially retroactively modify child support ordered by a trial court.1 These exceptions show when your income changes ...
June 6, 2017CD
As with all cases brought against an individual or family (civil or criminal), the State has the burden of proof. With respect to neglected children (“CHINS”) or children who commit acts that would be crimes (“Juvenile Delinquents”) if an adult, the Indiana Department of Child Services (“DCS”) acts for the State. In a recent case, a divided Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Child in Need of Services (“CHINS”) determination against a father. This case has three key holdings or points for parents who may become involved in CHINS proceedings. First, a CHINS filing (petition) is often made by acts or ...
April 19, 2017Adam Hayes