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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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