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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. 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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