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COA reverses modification of juvenile's probation

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the order to send a juvenile to prison because the state didn’t present any evidence to support alleged probation violations to justify the placement modification.

In M.T. v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0908-JV-484, M.T. argued that allowing the state to remove a juvenile from probation and send him to the Department of Correction without submitting evidence wouldn’t be allowed for adults and doesn’t satisfy any due process requirement fairly applied to juveniles. M.T. was on probation and ordered to complete treatment in Kokomo Academy as a condition of probation. The state alleged probation violations, but at a hearing failed to present any evidence of the violations. The court ordered M.T. committed to the DOC.

Allowing a modification like the one in M.T.’s case violates due process, ruled the appellate court. Although Indiana Code Section 31-37-22-3 doesn’t explicitly define the type of hearing required, basic due process principles should require an evidentiary hearing, wrote Judge Melissa May.

The state argued the statute allows for modification after anyone files a motion, but offered no explanation as to why presentation of evidence isn’t necessary.

“…we decline its invitation to hold a juvenile waives due process protections merely by reciting to the court the substance of a controlling statute,” wrote the judge.

The state claimed the requirement it present some evidence of a juvenile’s wrongdoing before removing his probation and sending him to the DOC is contrary to statute and inconsistent with the juvenile court’s great flexibility in its oversight of juveniles. The state also argued it offered sufficient evidence of M.T.’s probation violation, but its argument is based only on an information regarding the alleged violations. The state didn’t present any evidence to support those allegations.

“While the statute does not explicitly define the type of hearing required, basic due process principles and case law precedent lead us to conclude a trial court may not modify a juvenile’s disposition without a hearing at which the State presents evidence supporting the allegations listed in the revocation petition,” wrote Judge May.
 

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  2. 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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  5. 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.

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