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Commission admonishes Miami Superior judge

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A Miami Superior judge received a public admonition today from the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications for granting an ex parte petition in a child custody case. The commission also noted it has repeatedly addressed this type of violation for years.

In February 2007, Judge Daniel C. Banina issued an order granting temporary custody to the father in a case involving a divorced couple still living together. The mother had sole custody of the child and decided in January 2007 she wanted to move and take their child with her.

Instead of ensuring the mother had notice of her ex-husband's emergency petition to receive temporary custody of their child and proceeding first to a hearing on the paternity request, Judge Banina issued the order granting temporary custody to the father and set a hearing for the following month. Even in a true emergency a person is entitled to a hearing within 10 days of the ex parte order; Judge Banina set the hearing for March 27, 2007.

According to the public admonition, Judge Banina violated the mother's due process rights as well as Canons 1, 2, 3B(2), 3B(8), and 3B(9) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

"In the Commission's view, there is perhaps no greater injustice than to strip a parent of custodial rights without an opportunity to be heard and in the absence of an emergency," the Commission on Judicial Qualifications wrote in the admonition. "The Commission calls upon all judges and lawyers in Indiana to respect this fundamental notion, one the Commission and its counter-part, the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, attempted to convey now for several years, only to repeatedly address the same violation."

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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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