ILNews

Court rules on genetic testing on deceased

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Court of Appeals ruled today that the interests and parties involved in a deceased person's estate must be represented when an order for genetic testing is given.

In the case, In the Matter of the Paternity of C.M.R., a child born out of wedlock, http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/08070701tac.pdf Kari Schenkel brings an interlocutory appeal from the trial court's order for the genetic testing of her and her two children to determine if Joseph Miller, who is deceased, fathered C.M.R., the child of Jennifer Lee Randall. The Court of Appeals vacates the trial court's order and remands with instructions.

In December 1999, Jennifer Lee Randall gave birth to C.M.R., at which time Miller was involved in a relationship with Kari Schenkel. As a result of their relationship, Schenkel and Miller had two children, whose paternity was established in April 2002. In July of that year, Miller died. In April 2005, Randall filed a petition with the trial court to establish that Miller is the father of C.M.R., and in June 2005, Title IV-D prosecuting attorney Richard Brown filed a motion for paternity testing using genetic samples from Miller's autopsy on behalf of C.M.R. The trial court granted the motion that same day. In July 2006, the state filed another motion that stated Miller's remains were insufficient for testing and that Schenkel and her two children need to be tested to determine by way of comparison if Miller was C.M.R.'s father. Schenkel and her children were not named as parties to the paternity action.

The trial court entered an order for genetic testing Sept. 26, 2006, which states results of the test can be admitted as evidence to prove if Miller was the father of C.M.R.

On appeal, Schenkel argues the paternity action is untimely pursuant to Indiana Code section 31-14-5-5, stating a paternity action needs to be filed during the alleged father's lifetime or not later than five months after his death. Although the state argues that Schenkel waived this argument because she raised it for the first time on appeal, the Court of Appeals found it's not necessary to address the assertions because a cursory review of the records reveals necessary parties have not been joined in the paternity action. Randall, Schenkel, and her two children are not named as parties to the action, and Indiana Code 31-14-6-1 states only parties to a paternity action may be ordered to undergo genetic testing.

Also, the court found the order for genetic testing on Miller to be void because the state did not petition to open Miller's estate so that its interests could be represented. Therefore, the court vacated the order and remanded with instructions to determine which of the participants in the paternity action should be joined as parties and to allow those parties an opportunity to appear, answer, and defend their interests as appropriate.
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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

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  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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