Monday roundup 8/25


Two men were sentenced in separate cases on Friday involving children, one for child abuse and one for molestation. Both received 12 years.


Indiana is currently not enforcing the right-to-work law, after two judges have ruled it unconstitutional. The Governor believes the law will be upheld, but in the meantime, is following the direction of the courts. I think he learned his lesson about messing with judges. H/t ILB.


The Obama administration has come up with new birth control rules that comply with the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling. SCOTUSblog has the details.

Pence reinstated as marriage defendant

Judge Richard Young removed Governor Pence as a defendant in the marriage cases after buying Pence’s argument that he didn’t have the authority to actually enforce the marriage laws. After finding out that Pence purported to exercise exactly that authority, the Judge has put his name back on the file. File this under “Watch Out for Watchful Judges.”

Virginia same-sex marriages on hold

Not a huge surprise, but in a simple three-sentence order, the Court has put a stay on the 4th Circuit ruling to allow same-sex marriages in Virginia, pending a petition for certiorari. If the Court denies cert, the stay terminates and marriages can be performed immediately. If the Court grants cert, the stay will remain in place until the Court says otherwise.

Teacher charged with child seduction

Rebecca Green with J-G reports that a former special ed teacher at Woodlan has been charged with child seduction for having sex with a 17-year old student.

Whenever these stories break, people wonder about consent. The teenager voluntarily chose to have sex with the teacher, after all, and the age of consent in Indiana is 16.

Child seduction isn’t quite the same as statutory rape. While a 16-year old can give consent, there is a worry that certain people may be able to unduly influence certain young people, so 16- and 17-year olds are also protected by the child seduction statute. Basically, if a custodian, guardian, adoptive parent/grandparent, stepparent or child care worker (including teacher) of a teenager of 16 or 17 engages in sexual activity with them, they are guilty of child seduction.

There are other classes of people, such as those who have had a professional relationship with the teenager – like a counselor or psychiatrist – who can commit child seduction, as well, although the standards vary. For a psychiatrist, for example, it must be shown that he or she did actually exert undue influence.

For a teacher, that’s not necessary. The act itself is enough to convict.

Two sentencing decisions

ILB points out that the 7th Circuit issued two rulings yesterday related to sentencing. There is a lot to go through, so this post will be updated, but in the meantime check out what they have over at ILB.

EDIT: 6:14 PM

In the first case, U.S. v. Jones, et al., the 7th Circuit highlights several issues with regards to sentencing. Two most important ones:

  • Defendants must be sentenced according to the guidelines in place when the crime was committed, and not subsequent guidelines, if those new guidelines would increase the sentence, as to do otherwise would violate the ex post facto clause of the Constitution.
  • Any element that would serve to increase the mandatory minimum sentence must be submitted to and found by a jury.

In U.S. v. Adame-Hernandez, which involves the same criminal conspiracy (cocaine-dealing) as the first case, the Circuit court makes a very narrow rule regarding plea deals. Adame pleaded guilty to a specific charge, and only after did the trial court reject a plea agreement on virtually identical charges. He ended up being sentenced to 196 months longer than the agreement would have called for. The 7th Circuit vacates and sends the case back to have him sentenced under the original agreement. This case needs some closer reading to really grasp, but on the surface it does appear to be the type of narrow case unlikely to be used often in the future.