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COA reverses modification of juvenile's probation

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the order to send a juvenile to prison because the state didn’t present any evidence to support alleged probation violations to justify the placement modification.

In M.T. v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0908-JV-484, M.T. argued that allowing the state to remove a juvenile from probation and send him to the Department of Correction without submitting evidence wouldn’t be allowed for adults and doesn’t satisfy any due process requirement fairly applied to juveniles. M.T. was on probation and ordered to complete treatment in Kokomo Academy as a condition of probation. The state alleged probation violations, but at a hearing failed to present any evidence of the violations. The court ordered M.T. committed to the DOC.

Allowing a modification like the one in M.T.’s case violates due process, ruled the appellate court. Although Indiana Code Section 31-37-22-3 doesn’t explicitly define the type of hearing required, basic due process principles should require an evidentiary hearing, wrote Judge Melissa May.

The state argued the statute allows for modification after anyone files a motion, but offered no explanation as to why presentation of evidence isn’t necessary.

“…we decline its invitation to hold a juvenile waives due process protections merely by reciting to the court the substance of a controlling statute,” wrote the judge.

The state claimed the requirement it present some evidence of a juvenile’s wrongdoing before removing his probation and sending him to the DOC is contrary to statute and inconsistent with the juvenile court’s great flexibility in its oversight of juveniles. The state also argued it offered sufficient evidence of M.T.’s probation violation, but its argument is based only on an information regarding the alleged violations. The state didn’t present any evidence to support those allegations.

“While the statute does not explicitly define the type of hearing required, basic due process principles and case law precedent lead us to conclude a trial court may not modify a juvenile’s disposition without a hearing at which the State presents evidence supporting the allegations listed in the revocation petition,” wrote Judge May.
 

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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