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COA: Adoption petition should remain in Superior Court

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The Lake Superior Court was not required under the county’s case allocation plan to transfer an adoption petition to juvenile court where termination of parental rights proceedings are pending involving the same children, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

“Here, we are presented with exactly the same issue the Pera Court addressed: whether Lake County’s local rule, i.e. the Caseload Allocation Plan, trumps a statute, i.e. Indiana Code section 31-19-1-2, which provides that probate courts have exclusive jurisdiction over adoption matters,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote.

N.E. sought to adopt J.T.D. and J.S., who are her cousin’s children. She attempted to intervene in the termination of parental rights proceedings pending in juvenile court, but was denied. She then filed her petition to adopt in Lake Superior Court, which holds probate jurisdiction in its civil division.

The Department of Child Services, which had custody of the children, wanted N.E.’s petition transferred to juvenile court pursuant to the Lake County Case Allocation Plan. Lake Superior Court denied the motions, leading to this interlocutory appeal.

In State ex re. Commons v. Pera, 987 N.E.2d 1074, 1078 (Ind. 2013), the Indiana Supreme Court blocked Judge Nicholas Schiralli’s transfer to Lake Superior Juvenile Court after Mary Beth Bonaventura left to head DCS. His reassignment was in accord with a local court rule promulgated in the caseload allocation plan at issue in this appeal.

“The DCS places undue emphasis on the fact that our supreme court approved the Caseload Allocation Plan. The Pera Court rejected this same argument and observed that the Caseload Allocation Plan is not a rule promulgated by the supreme court,” Mathias pointed out.

“Our General Assembly has statutorily conferred jurisdiction of adoption proceedings exclusively to probate courts. In Lake County, the Civil Division has probate jurisdiction, and therefore, exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over adoption proceedings. DCS may not rely on local court rule, i.e. the Caseload Allocation Plan, to circumvent the Lake County Civil Division’s exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over adoption proceedings,” Mathias wrote.

The case is In re the Adoption of: J.T.D. & J.S. (Minor Children), Children to be Adopted, and N.E. (Prospective Adoptive Parent) v. Indiana Department of Child Services, 45A03-1308-AD-310.


 

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  1. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  2. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  3. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

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  5. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

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