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COA affirms mom’s termination of rights despite ‘clean screen’ given to judge

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An Indianapolis mother with a history of drug abuse and domestic violence failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse the termination of her parental rights, even though she introduced herself to the presiding judge after oral arguments and had a student deliver to the judge evidence of a clean drug screen taken a day earlier.

Judge Paul Mathias delivered the court opinion Tuesday in In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: A.D.S. & A.S. and L.S. v. The Indiana Department of Child Services, 49A02-1207-JT-604. The court affirmed termination of mother’s parental rights to her two children after a record of failed attempts at rehab, domestic offenses involving the children’s father and evidence that she threatened to physically harm herself.

The opinion includes a footnote indicating that mother L.S. traveled to hear oral arguments at Taylor University in Upland last month, introducing herself to Mathias afterward. “Later, Mother asked a student to deliver documentation of her ‘clean’ urine screen dated April 11, 2013, to Judge Mathias. Although the documentation was received, its receipt and surrounding circumstances were disclosed to counsel in a conference call the following business day, and the results were not considered in this opinion, as it was evidence outside the record.”

Mathias wrote for the court that the mother had tested negative for cocaine on recent screens, but also evaded screens and tested positive a week prior to her termination hearing and while her appeal was pending. The mother also had parental rights terminated previously for older children. The record also shows her children have thrived after placement outside mother’s home.

Mathias emphasized the trial court’s finding that mother had “failed to demonstrate the capacity to remain sober on a consistent and permanent basis.”

“For all these reasons, we conclude that the totality of the evidence supports the trial court’s determination that termination of Mother’s parental rights is in the children’s best interest.” Mathias wrote. “We conclude there was sufficient evidence that there is a reasonable probability that the reasons for the Children’s placement outside the home will not be remedied.”



  
 

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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