COA reverses involuntary termination order for a second time

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The Indiana Court of Appeals sharply rebuked a trial court as having “committed clear error” by relying on old evidence and testimony in terminating a Vanderburgh County couple’s parental rights.

In July 2011, the trial court issued an order granting termination petitions filed by the Indiana Department of Child Services. However, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for further proceedings because the four minor children had not been removed from the parents for at least six months under a dispositional decree as required by Indiana Code 31-35-2-4(b)(2)(A)(i).

DCS filed a second petition in May 2012. Over the objection of the parents, the trial court admitted the transcript and exhibits of the previous termination hearing. Again, the lower court terminated the parent-child relationship.

The Court of Appeals reversed the second termination order in In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: N.Q., Je.Q., Ja.Q., L.Q., Minor Children, T.Q., Mother, and A.Q., Father v. Indiana Department of Child Services, 82A04-1301-JT-42.

It faulted the trial court’s ruling as based primarily on the evidence presented at the first termination hearing even when the findings were directly contradicted by the parents and not refuted by DCS at the second termination hearing.  

 “Moreover, it was error for the court to issue its order which did not adequately consider the evidence presented by Parents of their current conditions, including Parents’ new income and their ability to keep current on their bills and maintain a clean residence,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the court. “Indeed, the court also failed to consider the lack of evidence to the contrary presented by DCS, despite the fact that it was DCS’s burden to prove its case by a heightened ‘clear and convincing’ standard.”


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.