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COA reverses juvenile's exploitation adjudication

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a juvenile’s adjudication for exploiting an endangered adult because the state didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the 17-year-old took advantage of the mentally retarded man.

A.H. was adjudicated for committing what would be exploitation of an endangered adult, a Class A misdemeanor if committed by an adult, for getting Robert Barnhart to write her two checks for loans. Barnhart was diagnosed with “mental retardation,” has a very low IQ, can’t read or write, and is legally blind. He receives assistance from a developmental disabilities provider.

At the recommendation of her cousin, A.H. went to Barnhart and convinced him to write her a check for $750 so A.H. could bail her husband out of jail. She filled out the top part of the check and Barnhart signed it. The check was never cashed but she used it to get $750 from Charlie Matthews. She then got a loan to repay that $750 borrowed from Matthews. A.H. also got Barnhart to give her $100 by check so she could go to Indiana Beach. She then exchanged the check with Matthews for the cash. She did repay $25 of that loan to Barnhart. A.H. was charged after the developmental disabilities provider found discrepancies in Barnhart’s checking account.

The juvenile court ordered A.H. to the Department of Correction until she was 21 unless the DOC released her sooner.

That adjudication was an error, the Court of Appeals ruled in A.H. v. State of Indiana, No. 37A04-1002-JV-50, because the state didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that A.H. recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally exerted unauthorized use of the property of an endangered person for her own profit or for the profit of another person.

The appellate court noted Barnhart agreed to give her the loans, was never threatened, and A.H. had begun to repay the only outstanding loan.

“While Barnhart may have diminished capacity and A.H. prevailed against Barnhart, we do not believe that the State met its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that A.H.’s use of Barnhart’s property was unauthorized,” wrote Judge Elaine Brown. “While we do not make a finding as to A.H.’s credibility and do not approve or condone A.H.’s action in obtaining money from Barnhart, we simply do not find the evidence sufficient to meet the burden of proof required by the statute.”
 

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  1. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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