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After children are grown, custodial parent still a victim of nonsupport

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The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that a mother was a victim of a father who failed to pay support for his three children even years after the kids were grown.

Justices overturned a Court of Appeals ruling on Friday in Felix C. Sickels v. State of Indiana, 20S03-1206-CR-308. The Court of Appeals ruled the trial court erred in holding that the custodial parent was a victim of the non-custodial parent’s nonsupport.

“We hold that the trial court was well within its discretion to find that the custodial parent was the ‘victim,’” Justice Loretta Rush wrote for the unanimous court.

Felix Sickels had been charged in 2001 with failure to support his dependent children. He had moved to Michigan and wasn’t extradited until 2010, by which time his children were emancipated adults. He was convicted in 2011, ordered to serve 10 years through community corrections and pay the mother more than $84,000 in child-support arrearage.

Rush wrote that there were sound public policy considerations for why the custodial parent should be considered a victim, not the least of which is that directing restitution to children could create concerns about enforcement of support orders.

“We do not hold that a custodial parent whose children are now emancipated is the only possible ‘victim’ under these circumstances, but that a custodial parent is entitled to a presumption that he or she has suffered an ‘injury, harm or loss’ as a direct result of the noncustodial parent’s failure to pay child support. As a result, and barring an unusual circumstance, the custodial parent will be the recipient of criminal restitution for child-support arrearage in cases where the children have been emancipated,” Rush wrote.








 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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