ILNews

U.S. District Court dismisses 14-year consent decree

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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Nearly 15 years after a consent decree was ordered by the U.S. District Court Southern District in the case B.M., et al. v. James W. Payne, et al., the court today dismissed the decree.

The case was originally filed by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in 1989 on behalf of the wards of Marion County and their parents because of child welfare workers' alleged failure to adequately provide services for families and children.

Before the case made it to trial in 1992, Judge William Steckler entered a consent decree with two key points - specific lower ratios of children to case workers and certain standards for case workers' training. The consent decree lasted 14 years because of the state's inability to comply with the elements of the decree.

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Tinder heard testimony from both sides of the case as to why the decree should be dismissed.

Kenneth Falk, ACLU-IN legal director representing the plaintiffs, said the system is not perfect, but the state is working to fix the problems. Steps the state has taken include the creation of the Indiana Department of Child Services and legislative funding and a law to maintain the low ratio of children to case workers, which will take affect next year.

"Since March 2005, the caseload standards have been constantly complied with," Falk said.

Judge Tinder, after hearing both sides of the testimony, said dismissal of the consent decree was fair, reasonable, and adequate.

"There is overriding public interest in settling. The funds (used for litigation) can be used for more important purposes," he said.
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  1. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  2. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  3. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  4. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

  5. Dear Fan, let me help you correct the title to your post. "ACLU is [Left] most of the time" will render it accurate. Just google it if you doubt that I am, err, "right" about this: "By the mid-1930s, Roger Nash Baldwin had carved out a well-established reputation as America’s foremost civil libertarian. He was, at the same time, one of the nation’s leading figures in left-of-center circles. Founder and long time director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Baldwin was a firm Popular Fronter who believed that forces on the left side of the political spectrum should unite to ward off the threat posed by right-wing aggressors and to advance progressive causes. Baldwin’s expansive civil liberties perspective, coupled with his determined belief in the need for sweeping socioeconomic change, sometimes resulted in contradictory and controversial pronouncements. That made him something of a lightning rod for those who painted the ACLU with a red brush." http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/biographies/roger-baldwin-2/ "[George Soros underwrites the ACLU' which It supports open borders, has rushed to the defense of suspected terrorists and their abettors, and appointed former New Left terrorist Bernardine Dohrn to its Advisory Board." http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1237 "The creation of non-profit law firms ushered in an era of progressive public interest firms modeled after already established like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") and the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") to advance progressive causes from the environmental protection to consumer advocacy." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cause_lawyering

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