Judges uphold juvenile's adjudication

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the acceptance of a minor’s plea agreement that was not signed by either of his parents because the signature of the minor and his attorney on the plea agreement satisfied statutory requirements.

In D.E. v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1103-JV-319, D.E. attempted to rob a person – who turned out to be a police detective – with a rifle.  D.E. was caught and faced several charges, but decided to accept the plea agreement from the state in which he would admit to committing what would be criminal recklessness and dangerous possession of a firearm in exchange for the other charges being dropped. After a two-day continuance to allow D.E. and his parents time to consider the plea agreement, D.E. and his attorney signed it, but D.E.’s parents did not. D.E. was sentenced to placement in the Department of Correction until he turned 21 or until he completed all required programs.

D.E. argued that his parents’ rights were thwarted by Indiana Code 31-32-5-1, which allowed D.E.’s attorney to waive the teen’s right to a fact-finding adjudication. But the appellate court disagreed, finding his parents had ample time to consider the agreement and attended the hearings. Both parents also said they understood the implications of the waivers in the plea agreement.

“D.E. has not demonstrated the waivers in his plea agreement did not comport with Ind. Code § 31-32-5-1. It is undisputed that D.E. and his counsel signed the plea agreement, which is sufficient to satisfy the statute. D.E. has not alleged he involuntarily or unknowingly entered into the agreement. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s acceptance of D.E.’s plea agreement,” wrote Judge Melissa May.

The judges also upheld the disposition placing D.E. in a juvenile correctional facility in the DOC instead of a less restrictive placement. The trial court found previous attempts to rehabilitate D.E. were unsuccessful and D.E. was on probation at the time he attempted to rob the detective. He also violated his probation by testing positive for marijuana and had been suspended or expelled from multiple schools.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.