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April 27, 2019

Seventh Circuit finds Indiana approach to revoking good-time credits in sex offender program violates Fifth Amendment right against compelled self‐incrimination

A panel of the Seventh Circuit a few days ago issued a notable opinion in Lacy v. Butts, No. 17-3256 (7th Cir. April 25, 2019) (available here), which affirmed a lower court ruling that part of Indiana's Sex Offender Management and Monitoring program violates the Constitution. Here is how the court's opinion gets started:

When the state wants to encourage suspects, defendants, or incarcerated offenders to admit guilt, it has many tools at its disposal.  Before or during trial, prosecutors may hold out the prospect of a plea bargain. Judges may reward defendants with a sentence reduction for accepting responsibility.  Prison rehabilitation programs may offer benefits and incentives by conditioning visitation rights, work opportunities, housing in a lower‐security unit, and other privileges on an offender’s willingness to admit responsibility for the crime of conviction. McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 40 (2002).

But the Fifth Amendment draws one sharp line in the sand: no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”  U.S. CONST. amend. V. (emphasis added).  This case requires us to decide whether Indiana’s Sex Offender Management and Monitoring (INSOMM) program crosses that line with its system of revoking good time credits and denying the opportunity to earn such credits for convicted sex offenders who refuse to confess their crimes.  In an action brought by a class led by Donald Lacy, an inmate subject to INSOMM, the district court ruled that Indiana’s system as currently operated impermissibly compels self‐incrimination and must be revised.   We affirm.

April 27, 2019 at 10:05 AM | Permalink


"When the state wants to encourage suspects, defendants, or incarcerated offenders to admit guilt, it has many tools at its disposal." No truer statement was ever made! I am a witness to the fact that a suspect admitted sexual assault and got a slap on the hand. Then another suspect refused to admit guilt (he is innocent) and was given 5 years plus probation and put on a sex offender list - now tell me where is the justice? The DA made threats of the hysterical Jury that would probably sentence more time unless he plead guilty (he refused). The innocent man refused parole because he would have to admit guilt to get a parole. There was no evidence. The DA sent his investigator years later after the accusation was made to intimidate the "victim" and paid her way to come back to Texas to testify. This is called corruption and for this to happen in our Judicial system is the problem in America.

Posted by: LC in Texas | Apr 28, 2019 8:29:26 PM

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