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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. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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