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COA: Twins to remain with guardian, not grandmother

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s ruling that twins from northern Indiana may be adopted by their guardian in Bloomington over the objections of the children’s father and paternal grandmother.

In In the Matter of the Adoption of J.L.J. and J.D.J., Minor Children; J.J. and T.H. v. D.E., 53A01-1306-AD-285, father J.J. and grandmother T.H. sought to reverse the Monroe Circuit court order dispensing with father’s consent to the adoption of the twins and denying grandmother’s petitions for guardianship and adoption of the children.

Mother J.S. and father have been in an off-and-on relationship that has produced four children. At one point, mother had four children under the age of 2 in her care. The twins, born in Benton Harbor, Mich., where grandmother and father lived, resided in South Bend with their mother. The mother would leave the twins with different friends and relatives often, including grandmother. Father spent some time incarcerated during the twin’s young lives and never paid child support despite a court order.

A friend of J.S.’ mother, D.E., who had been seeking to adopt for years, learned about mother and her situation and drove from Bloomington to South Bend to visit with the mother. That day J.S. signed a consent form to allow D.E. to become guardian and eventually adopt the children.

Father didn’t contest D.E.’s petition for appointment as guardian and to adopt within 30 days of receiving notice, although later he and his mother challenged the petitions. Grandmother wanted the children placed with her. The trial court ruled in favor of D.E.

The Court of Appeals affirmed on interlocutory appeal. It found sufficient evidence to support the determination that father’s consent was not required based on his knowing failure to provide care and support for the twins, despite an ability to do so. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that grandmother was not entitled to notice of the guardianship proceedings because the twins did not live with her 60 days prior to D.E. filing her petitions, Judge Patricia Riley wrote.

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children does not apply, as grandmother argued, because the children were considered residents of Indiana, despite being born in Michigan and sometimes living there.

Finally, the COA held it is in the best interests of the children to be adopted by D.E. They are very well-adjusted 2-1/2 year olds, the court found, and they are receiving excellent services.
 

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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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