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‘Marijuana legal elsewhere’ claim no help in parental termination appeal

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Termination of parental rights was properly granted for a molesting father in federal prison and a drug-using mother who failed to comply with court-ordered services after striking a child.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the Wabash Circuit Court ruling in In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: S.L. & D.L. (Minor Children) and K.M., (Mother) & D.L.,(Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services, 85A02-1304-JT-308.

Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote that the trial court’s findings of fact were sufficient and warranted termination of parental rights. Federal authorities didn’t allow father to participate in the termination hearings, but he was represented by counsel and received transcripts of two of three hearings. The panel rejected arguments that his due process rights were violated, noting this was only raised on appeal.

Mother had tested positive for marijuana, methamphetamine and synthetic drugs, according to the record, and indicated uncertainty about severing ties with father despite her belief that he posed a molestation threat to their children. She also argued that she eventually had clean drug screens, which the court noted was after she was behind bars.

The court also noted mother argued “her marijuana use is ‘not a sufficient reason’ for terminating her parental rights. … She claims that ‘there are many people in the United States that agree with her about marijuana’ and cites the legalization of recreational marijuana use in other states as support for her claim.

“Assuming for the sake of argument that this is true, Mother fails to acknowledge that recreational marijuana use is not legal in Indiana and, more importantly, that one of the prerequisites for reunification with her children was that she not use marijuana. Nonetheless, Mother used marijuana frequently during the termination proceedings,” Vaidik wrote in affirming the trial court.  



 

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  • I forgot to mention
    The last 3 Presidents of the US all smoked marijuana. No one has ever died from smoking marijuana. Almost every day medical studies are being reported showing amazing benefits to consuming marijuana. Drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco are far more dangerous to your health.
  • Note on marijuana
    George Washington grew it for 20 years on his farm and in his diary which you can view on line speculated about the medical benefits of smoking marijuana. Thomas Jefferson grew it and smoked it. Betsy Ross' flag, the sails of Columbus' 3 ships, and the early drafts of the Constitution of the US and Declaration of Independence were all made from hemp.

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    1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

    2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

    3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

    4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

    5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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