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Opinions Aug.12, 2014

August 12, 2014
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Indiana Court of Appeals
In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of C.A., L.A., and M.A. (Minor Children) and B.A. (Mother) and J.A. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services
55A04-1401-JT-37
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights for mother and father to their three minor children following father’s conviction of Class B felony dealing methamphetamine and mother’s conviction of Class D felony neglect of a dependent. While mother neither received nor signed a case plan negotiated with the Department of Child Services, the record shows mother didn’t lack knowledge of what she needed to do to get her children back, but rather she didn’t participate. Evidence also was sufficient to support termination of mother’s and father’s parental rights.

Kramer Hill v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1311-CR-924
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Hill’s probation under two separate causes.

Todd Firkins v. Sheryl Firkins (NFP)
55A01-1311-DR-488
Domestic relation. Reverses the trial court’s child support calculation and remands for recalculation of father’s weekly obligation that includes credit for paying children’s health insurance premium. Affirms awarding sole legal custody to mother, awarding both child dependency tax exemptions to mother for the 2013 tax year, and restriction on father’s parenting time. Rules father did not establish that trial court’s questions rendered the bench trial unfair.  

Sergio Poitan v. State of Indiana (NFP)
73A01-1311-CR-512
Criminal. Affirms convictions for Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft and aggregate sentence of 10 years.

Dustin Scott Stevenson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1312-CR-494
Criminal. Affirms eight-year sentence for pleading guilty to burglary, a Class B felony.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.A. and S.A., Minor Children, and Their Father H.A., H.A. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
28A01-1402-JT-70
Juvenile. Affirms termination of father’s parental rights.

Eric William Stahl v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A04-1303-PC-137
Post conviction. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief petition.

In the Matter of the Paternity of A.E.T., A Minor Child, C.W., Individually and as Next Friend of A.E.T., Minor Child v. L.T. (NFP)
51A04-1401-JP-2
Juvenile paternity. Affirms denial of father’s petition to modify custody to grant him both joint legal and physical custody of minor child. Reverses trial court’s sua sponte restriction on father’s parenting time and remands to eliminate that provision from the order. Finds the trial court’s order on father’s child support was unclear and remands for trial court to determine whether the father’s petition for modifying child support should be granted.

Billy Ray Young v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A04-1403-CR-114
Criminal. Affirms six-year sentence for pleading guilty to residential entry as a Class D felony and receiving stolen property as a Class D felony.
 

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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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