ILNews

COA: Parental rights termination set aside

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a juvenile court's termination of parental rights of both parents of an infant, finding evidence presented to support the termination wasn't clear or convincing.

In In the matter of the termination of the parent-child relationship of A.B., and Angela B. and Brian J. v. Lake County Department of Child Services, No. 45A03-0712-JV-567, the appellate court ruled the court's judgment terminating the parental rights of Angela and Brian over A.B. was erroneous because the Lake County Department of Child Services failed to prove that the continuation of their relationship with the child posed a threat to their daughter's well-being.

DCS became involved with the parents after Angela took A.B. to the hospital because one of her toes had become black following an infection. A.B. was placed in emergency custody on the basis of suspected medical neglect.

A.B. was determined to be a child in need of services, and the juvenile court ordered the parents to participate in drug and alcohol evaluations, treatment recommendations, and parenting classes.

Both parents complied with all of the court orders. During the CHINS proceedings Angela and Brian moved their children - except A.B. who remained in the care of the state at the Nazareth Home - to Pennsylvania to better their home life and employment prospects. During this time, the juvenile court called for the termination of their parental rights and allowed for A.B. to be placed in a pre-adoptive foster home.

The juvenile court terminated the parents' rights to A.B. finding it wouldn't be in A.B.'s best interests to be reunified with her parents.

However, Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote, the findings made by the juvenile court didn't satisfy the burden to show A.B. needed to be removed. Also, the parents complied with all of the court's orders and had no history of abuse or neglect of any of their children, including A.B.

"Without clear and convincing evidence to support each of the factors set forth in Indiana Code (Section) 31-35-2-4(b)(2), we cannot affirm the termination of a parent-child relationship. Accordingly, the juvenile court's decision to terminate Mother's and Father's parental rights must be set aside," she wrote.
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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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