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Father entitled to counsel at contempt hearing

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A Marion County man has made a prima facie showing that the trial court erred by denying his request for counsel at a hearing on contempt. Brian Moore’s ex-wife wanted him found in contempt for not paying the full amount of child support.

Moore is supposed to pay his ex-wife $139 per week in support for their two children. She filed a motion for rule to show cause why Moore should not be found in contempt for failing to pay less than $50 since the June 2013 order. She asked the court to order him to serve 30 days in jail and that the sentence be suspended pending his compliance.

At the hearing on the motion, Moore appeared pro se and asked that an attorney be appointed to represent him because he faced jail time. But Marion Superior Judge Robert Altice Jr. denied the request because any jail sentence would be suspended. The court found Moore in contempt, sentenced him to 30 days and suspended it until a compliance hearing was held.

“Here, there is a clear possibility that Brian is indigent. Furthermore, even though the trial court suspended the sentence and indicated it would reconsider the issue of appointing counsel prior to the compliance hearing, Brian clearly risked the possibility of losing his physical liberty as a result of the trial court’s contempt finding. Thus, if indigent, Brian was entitled to have counsel represent him at that hearing, not just at the subsequent compliance hearing,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote in  Brian S. Moore v. Kristy L. Moore, 49A04-1310-DR-499.  

The case is remanded for the court to determine if Moore is indigent and, if so, to appoint counsel to represent him at a new contempt hearing.

 

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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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