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COA rules natural parents’ consent unnecessary in adoption

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Once a trial court found a child’s natural parents to be unfit, the court did not need to revisit that finding at an adoption hearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.

The mother and father of J.M. lost custody of her and the mother’s three older children after the Indiana Department of Child Services removed the minors to foster care because of the natural parents’ continued alcohol and drug abuse, along with incidents of domestic violence.

Eventually, the paternal grandparents filed a petition for guardianship of J.M. and the natural parents consented. However, the foster parents objected to the grandparents’ petition and filed a petition to adopt J.M. The grandparents followed with a competing petition of adoption.

 After a consent hearing, the trial court determined the natural parents were unfit and their consent was unnecessary.

Proceeding to the adoption hearing, the trial court granted the foster parents’ petition for adoption.

The natural parents appealed the court’s decision that their consent was unnecessary.

In In the Matter of the Adoption of J.M.: J.P. and J.M. v. R.H. and R.H., 82A01-1309-AD-404, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

The Court of Appeals rejected the natural parents’ argument that the trial court erred when it did not consider their fitness at the time of the consent and adoption hearings. Pointing to the mother’s and father’s continued difficulty with alcohol and lack of insight on the negative effects that alcohol has had on their lives, the COA panel found the trial court did not err by concluding they were unfit at the consent hearing.

“As for the adoption hearing, the Natural Parents’ argument that the trial court should have reevaluated their fitness at that time is merely a request for a second bite at the proverbial apple,” Judge John Baker wrote for the court. “Once the trial court concluded that the Natural Parents were unfit at the consent hearing, as stated above, the effect was the termination of their parental rights.”

 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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