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COA affirms remand to prior judge over father’s objection

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A special judge appointed in a paternity case ruled correctly that matters in the case remanded by the Court of Appeals should be heard by the prior judge who heard the evidence, the appellate court held in a second appeal on the matter.

In In re the Paternity of V.A., (Minor Child), R.A. v. B.Y., 39A04-1310-JP-512, father R.A. requested a change of judge under Trial Rule 76(B), which was granted. He appealed a prior trial court ruling to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.

Jefferson Circuit Special Judge James B. Morris took the case after Judge Ted Todd granted father’s change-of-judge motion. When Morris received the matter on remand, he ruled that Trial Rule 63(A) requires a judge who hears evidence to make all rulings relating to that evidence.

“On appeal, Father contends that Trial Rules 76(B) and 63(A) conflict, and his right to a change of judge under Trial Rule 76(B) trumps Trial Rule 63(A)’s preference for the judge who heard the evidence,” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote for the panel. “We conclude that the rules do not conflict; rather, they govern different aspects of Father’s case —  Father’s change-of-judge request under Trial Rule 76(B) applies prospectively to his modification petition, and Trial Rule 63(A) operates retroactively to ensure that the remanded issues are considered by the judge who heard the evidence, Judge Todd. We affirm.”

A separate appellate panel heard another appeal from the same case, affirming Morris’ denial of father’s motion to correct error and an order reinstating his visitation time with a child he had in 2003. He and the child’s mother never married, and their relationship ended in 2011.

In In Re: The Paternity of V.A., a Minor Child, R.A. Father v. B.Y., Mother, 39A01-1307-JP-304, as prior appeals were pending, father filed a motion to modify support and custody the same day that Morris assumed jurisdiction. Morris denied the motion on the basis that he lacked jurisdiction to rule.

“(W)e cannot hold the court abused its discretion when it denied Father’s motion to correct error,” Judge Melissa May wrote for the panel in this appeal. “We accordingly affirm the denial of Father’s Motion to Correct Error regarding the dismissal of his petition to modify custody and support.”
 

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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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