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ALJ, problem-solving courts bills moving

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A House bill dealing with problem-solving courts and a Senate bill that involves administrative proceedings and administrative law judge disqualifications have made it out of their respective judiciary committees.

House Bill 1153 was amended by the House Judiciary Committee and passed out of committee Jan. 20. The introduced bill included a chapter on possession of handguns by judicial officers, which was removed in committee. HB 1153 spells out when a problem-solving court may terminate an individual’s participation in the court program. The bill also makes the parent or guardian of a child accepted into a problem-solving court program financially responsible for court service fees and chemical testing expenses.

Senate Bill 67 made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Jan. 20 with several amendments. The legislation deals with administrative proceedings, dictates that the proceedings before an administrative law judge are de novo, and adds to the section dealing with ALJ disqualifications.

Also moving as of Monday morning:
-    SB 43, which would allow the parole board to require certain child molesters and other sex and violent offenders to wear a GPS tracking device. The bill moved out of the Committee on Corrections, Criminal & Civil Matters Jan. 12 and passed second reading in the Senate Jan. 18.
-    SB 74, which deals with guardianships, and HB 1055, which deals with adult guardianships and protective proceedings, both made it out of their respective judiciary committees last week.
-    SB 169, involving probate, trusts, and transfer on death transfers, gained approval of  the Senate Judiciary Committee Jan. 20 without amendments. The legislation would allow for joint owners of motor vehicles and watercraft to transfer title as a transfer on death transaction. It also deals with matrimonial property and trusts and other probate matters.

Several bills of interest will be heard in committee this week. This morning, the House Judiciary Committee heard three bills, including HB 1182 on the creation of a consumer protection assistance fund. The bill passed and moved on for second reading. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear several bills including SB 91 on unifying Henry and Madison Circuit courts; SB 301 proposing an automated record-keeping fee that would fund the implementation of case management system Odyssey in state courts; SB 97 on the funding of lawsuits; and SB 499 on nominating Lake Superior judges instead of the current election process.

A complete list of bills is available on the General Assembly’s website at http://www.in.gov/legislative/.
 

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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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