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COA: Petitioning court for placement not the same as applying directly

October 29, 2013

The Indiana Court of Appeals clarified for a defendant its previous conclusion that he never applied for acceptance into a county post-conviction forensic diversion program and affirmed that his petition for judicial review was not proper.

Jason Morales appealed in May the denial of his motion for judicial review of the admissions criteria for the Vanderburgh County Post-Conviction Forensic Diversion Program. The Court of Appeals held there was no final administrative decision for the court to review.

Morales argued on rehearing in Jason E. Morales v. State of Indiana, 82A05-1302-CR-72, that he did apply to the program through filing a motion in the trial court for placement in the program.

“Although Morales petitioned the trial court to be placed into the Program and the probation department investigated whether he satisfied its criteria, this action is not the same as Morales applying directly to the Program. Indeed, the Program did not deny Morales’s admission,” Judge John Baker wrote. “Rather, the Program informed the probation department that Morales did not satisfy the criteria for acceptance.

“To Morales, the result is the same, but before a court can review a final administrative action, there must be an agency action for the court to review. Here, the agency administering the Program did not act, but merely informed the probation department that based on the information that it had been provided, Morales did not satisfy the necessary criteria for acceptance into the Program.”

Judge Melissa May would have denied the petition for rehearing.
 

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