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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. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  2. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  3. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  4. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

  5. Dear Fan, let me help you correct the title to your post. "ACLU is [Left] most of the time" will render it accurate. Just google it if you doubt that I am, err, "right" about this: "By the mid-1930s, Roger Nash Baldwin had carved out a well-established reputation as America’s foremost civil libertarian. He was, at the same time, one of the nation’s leading figures in left-of-center circles. Founder and long time director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Baldwin was a firm Popular Fronter who believed that forces on the left side of the political spectrum should unite to ward off the threat posed by right-wing aggressors and to advance progressive causes. Baldwin’s expansive civil liberties perspective, coupled with his determined belief in the need for sweeping socioeconomic change, sometimes resulted in contradictory and controversial pronouncements. That made him something of a lightning rod for those who painted the ACLU with a red brush." http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/biographies/roger-baldwin-2/ "[George Soros underwrites the ACLU' which It supports open borders, has rushed to the defense of suspected terrorists and their abettors, and appointed former New Left terrorist Bernardine Dohrn to its Advisory Board." http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1237 "The creation of non-profit law firms ushered in an era of progressive public interest firms modeled after already established like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") and the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") to advance progressive causes from the environmental protection to consumer advocacy." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cause_lawyering

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