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Appellate judges affirm previous decision in paternity dispute

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A divided Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday reaffirmed its original opinion in In Re: The Matter of the Paternity of S.C.: K.C. (Appellant), and C.C. (Appellee), and B.H. (Appellee-Intervenor), 30A01-1107-JP-322, and ordered a rehearing, in which the appellate court affirmed the Hancock Circuit Court’s grant of B.H.’s verified petition for relief from judgment for fraud upon the court.

A DNA test showed B.H. is 99.9997 percent likely to be the father of a child with K.C.

Hancock Circuit Court granted C.C.’s petition to establish that he was the father of S.C. the day after it was filed. The order was issued a day before B.H.’s scheduled paternity hearing in Fayette Circuit Court, and B.H. was served with notice of the Hancock County paternity order at the hearing, according to the appellate ruling.

The Fayette Circuit Court dismissed B.H.’s case, and he filed a motion to set aside the Hancock County judgment “on grounds that Mother committed fraud upon the court in not informing the Hancock Circuit Court of the then-pending Fayette County proceeding,” according to the opinion.

The Hancock Circuit Court granted the motion, vacated the paternity judgment in favor of C.C., and ordered DNA testing that concluded B.H. was almost certainly the father.

Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote the rehearing joined by Judge Paul Mathias. Judge Patricia Riley dissented without a separate opinion.

In granting rehearing, Friedlander set aside mother K.C.’s claims that B.H.’s paternity action didn’t meet statutory requirements and that DNA tests were in dispute and inadmissible.

Those issues, Friedlander wrote, are “beside the point with respect to the Hancock County order under review. The question is whether Mother committed fraud upon the Hancock Circuit Court by failing to apprise that court of the Fayette County proceeding” that court records indicate she knew about.

“It is enough that the record supports the Hancock Circuit Court’s finding that a paternity action was indeed filed and pending in Fayette County and that Mother knew of the action when she participated in the Hancock County action,” Friedlander wrote in support of rehearing. "It is enough that there was evidence to support the Hancock Circuit Court’s finding that Mother did not inform the Hancock Circuit Court of the pending Fayette County paternity proceeding. And, it is enough that there was evidence to support the finding that Mother knew there was a reasonable possibility that B.H. was S.C.’s biological father, regardless of any defects or deficiencies in B.H.’s legal efforts to establish his paternity as a matter of law.”

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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