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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. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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