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Court upholds juvenile placement with DOC

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld placing a juvenile with the Indiana Department of Correction over his objections that there was a less restrictive alternative available. The judges found the minor’s instant adjudications, behavior while in detention, and history of inappropriate sexual conduct justified placing him with the DOC.

In 2009, R.H. stole a pair of sunglasses and on another occasion grabbed a classmate’s breast. He was adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for committing what would be Class B misdemeanor battery and Class A misdemeanor conversion if committed by an adult. He was held in custody until a December hearing, during which he had many disciplinary problems. After his hearing, he removed his ankle monitor and left his house. He also was detained several times while on electronic monitoring.

R.H. believed he should have been placed in a less restrictive facility instead of put in the custody of the DOC, but the appellate court found his placement to be justified. Chief Judge John Baker in R.H. v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-1003-JV-206, said R.H. “has certainly exhibited behaviors of a very troubled young man” and noted his attempts to skip school, the windows he broke at home out of anger, his behavior problems while he was in detention, substance abuse, and his history of inappropriate sexual conduct. He claimed to have been a victim of molestation, and to have had sexual contact with his four-year-old cousin as well as his brother and half-brother.

Chief Judge Baker also noted that his parents are “at best merely enablers and at worst complacent in their son’s inappropriate and unlawful behavior.” His father didn’t see anything wrong with grabbing the student’s breast and believed it was “accepted” behavior and his mother became so angry with school officials about the incident that she withdrew R.H. from school.

R.H. also argued because he was a victim of molestation, he should not have been placed in the Pendleton Juvenile Correction Facility, which was listed in a Department of Justice report as one of the 13 juvenile facilities in the country that had a high sexual victimization rate.

“While the Report tends to indicate that Pendleton has issues with sexual victimization of the juveniles who are detained there, it fails to establish that the juvenile court abused its discretion by awarding guardianship of R.H. to the DOC. To be sure, it is the DOC, rather than the juvenile court, which determined where R.H. would be placed,” wrote the chief judge.

In a footnote, Chief Judge Baker wrote “We do not intend for our conclusion to imply that victimization in a juvenile facility could never be grounds to challenge placement in that facility. We recognize that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals who are confined by the State from being held in unsafe conditions. … However, R.H. does not allege that he has been victimized or threatened, and as stated above, it is the DOC, not the juvenile court, that is responsible for his placement. Moreover, it is our hope that the Executive Department is as concerned with this unchallenged revelation as we are.”
 

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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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