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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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