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COA affirms trial courts in truant kindergartner cases

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has sided with the trial courts in two cases that have been consolidated in one appeal in determining that referral and attendance records for truant students were admissible at trial under the state’s business records exception.

In Alesha Houston and Donna Gruzinsky v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1101-CR-77, Alesha Houston’s child had 27 unexcused absences from kindergarten between Aug. 14, 2009 and April 23, 2010. Donna Gruzinsky’s child, who attended a different school, had 26 unexcused absences and was tardy 45 times between Aug. 11, 2009, and April 20, 2010. Both women were served with notices of failure to ensure school attendance as a Class B misdemeanor.

Gruzinsky argued that referral and attendance records were not admissible at trial under hearsay rules, because the attendance officer had no personal knowledge of her child’s absences. She further contended the referral records could not have been prepared in the regular course of business and therefore should not have been admitted under the business records exception.

The appeals court held that the records were admissible under the business records exception, which does not require personal knowledge of the events, and that part of the forms were completed during business hours.

Houston argued that she received ineffective counsel because her attorney did not object to the admission of referral and attendance records. The appeals court held that even if Houston’s attorney had objected, the objection would not have been sustained.

The appellate court held that in both cases, the state laid a proper foundation for the evidence admitted under the business records exception. Therefore, the evidence was not hearsay, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting it into evidence.  
 

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  1. Please I need help with my class action lawsuits, im currently in pro-se and im having hard time findiNG A LAWYER TO ASSIST ME

  2. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

  3. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

  4. I've been denied I appeal court date took a year my court date was Nov 9,2016 and have not received a answer yet

  5. Warsaw indiana dcs lying on our case. We already proved that in our first and most recent court appearance i need people to contact me who have evidence of dcs malpractice please email or facebook nathaniel hollett thank you

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