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Judges reverse teen’s adjudication for school absences, tardies

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The state didn’t show that a teenager was in need of care, treatment, or rehabilitation regarding school attendance, so his adjudication as a delinquent child for missing school should be reversed, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In C.S. v. State of Indiana, No. 67A01-1101-JS-19, the state filed a delinquency petition in November 2010 alleging C.S. violated the attendance law. C.S. was a sophomore at North Putnam High School and at the time the petition was filed, he had one full-day unexcused absence, was marked absent from class without excuse for five class periods, and was tardy 12 times during the fall semester. C.S. was grounded by his mother after she learned of the absences and afterward, he was no longer tardy or had unexcused absences for the fall semester.

After a fact-finding hearing, the juvenile court found C.S. violated the attendance law and sentenced him to six months formal probation.

On appeal, C.S. claimed the state never presented evidence to prove that he was in need of care, treatment, or rehabilitation, which is required to adjudicate a child for a status offense such as violating the attendance law.

Relating to this issue, the state only presented C.S.’s attendance record and evidence of C.S.’s school performance relating to his attitude, not his attendance. The state argued that C.S.’s violation of the compulsory attendance law implicitly showed he needed care, treatment, or rehabilitation, but the judges dismissed that argument citing R.B. v. State, 839 N.E.2d 1282, 1283 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), and G.N. v. State, 833 N.E.2d 1071, 1075 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005).

“The present case can be readily distinguished. In R.B., the juvenile had twenty-three full-day, unexcused absences and in G.N., fifteen full-day, unexcused absences. In the present case, C.S. had one unexcused full-day absence. In absence of any other evidence that C.S. was in need of care, treatment or rehabilitation regarding school attendance, we cannot infer such need from a single unexcused absence,” wrote Judge James Kirsch.

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  1. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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