Although the Indiana Supreme Court ruled against a registered sex offender father trying to attend his son’s school events, they did give him some guidance on how to go about his challenge.

Douglas Kirby plead guilty to child solicitation eight years ago and was sentenced to eighteen months probation. While he was on probation (and until 2015) he was permitted to come on campus to see his son’s school activities.

That was until Indiana passed a law in 2015 making it a felony for him to ” knowingly or intentionally enter school property”, regardless of whether his own child had an event. Kirby challenged the law, lost at trial, won on appeal, but ultimately lost again at the Indiana Supreme Court, which held the Court could not offer relief from a “collateral consequence”, just from an actual sentence. Since the restriction on entering school property was a collateral consequence of registration (as opposed to registration itself, or any express condition of his sentence), they were unable to offer relief.

However, in an unusual opinion, the Supreme Court took the opportunity to offer Kirby some guidance on what type of action he should bring, that might be successful. They wrote, “the post-conviction rules generally allow challenges only to a conviction or sentence. While we thus affirm the denial of post-conviction relief, we note that the post-conviction rules do not bar the petitioner from pursuing his claim in a declaratory judgment action.”

A copy of the decision can be found here: https://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/04271801lhr.pdf

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