ILNews

COA remands parental rights case

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Finding that a trial judge and Indiana Department of Child Services didn’t follow the law before involuntarily terminating parental rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals has sent the case back to Elkhart Circuit Court.

In Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of K.E., and T.E. and J.E., T.E. and J.E. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, No. 20A05-1104-JT-206, the Court of Appeals reversed the involuntary termination of parental rights of T.E. and J.E. to a child born in March 2010.

The Elkhart County office of the Indiana DCS took emergency protective custody of the then-2-month-old child, K.E. The state filed a petition alleging K.E. was a child in need of services. Both parents admitted to the allegations of the CHINS petition. The trial court in July 2010 removed K.E. from the home after an evidentiary hearing and later terminated the parents’ rights in December after a hearing.

But the trial court didn’t follow Indiana Code 31-34-21-5.6 in allowing more time to lapse between the removal and the termination or finding that reasonable efforts for family preservation or reunification had happened or that those efforts weren’t required. That was reversible error, the appellate court found.

“Our conclusion is based solely upon ECDCS’ failure to comply with the statutory mandate,” the court wrote. “We express no opinion regarding the sufficiency of the evidence relating to the remaining elements of the termination petition. In reaching our decision we are keenly aware of the fact that K.E.’s safety and emotional well-being hang in the balance. Further delay in the final resolution of K.E.’s case is regrettable. Nevertheless, ECDCS alleged, but failed to prove removal according to the mandates of Indiana Code section 31-35-2-4(b)(2)(A).”

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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