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Evidence supports CHINS finding, COA affirms

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Based on evidence that a mother continued to have extensive problems with drugs and violent relationships with her children’s fathers, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the determination that a woman’s two young children were children in need of services.

E.B. appealed the order finding that her children, who were under the age of three at the time, were in need of services. The Department of Child Services became involved with E.B. after receiving a report she used and sold drugs from her home where her children lived. When a case manager tried to follow up at the home, she found no one living there. E.B. declined to initially tell DCS where her children were living.

DCS filed the petition alleging the kids were CHINs based on E.B.’s admission to using cocaine three months earlier and refusing to disclose the location of the children. The day after the petition was filed, she tested positive for alcohol and marijuana, which she admitted to using daily.

E.B. underwent a substance use disorder assessment with a counselor. The counselor’s report was admitted during the CHINS hearing. The trial court cited the daily use of drugs by E.B., the age of her children, her violent history with her children’s fathers, among other things, as reasons why the children are CHINS. The court has since released wardship over the children and closed this case as E.B. has completed all ordered services and had clean drug screens since February 2013.

The COA affirmed the CHINs determination, finding evidence supports that E.B. continued to have extensive problems with drugs, violent relationships with her children’s fathers, and that these problems are harmful to the children. The trial court’s findings also support its judgment that there is a substantial risk of endangerment to the children, and that they need care, treatment or rehabilitation that they are not receiving and would not receive without court intervention, Judge Edward Najam wrote in In the Matter of Des.B. and Dem.B., Minor Children in Need of Services, E.B. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, 49A02-1306-JC-487.  

The judges also affirmed the admission of the telephonic testimony of John Martin. Martin worked at a California lab and analyzed E.B.’s drug test. His testimony regarding mother’s failed drug screen was harmless because it was merely cumulative of evidence already before the court. E.B. claimed he was allowed to testify by phone despite the court not following the procedure outlined in Indiana Administrative Rule 14.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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