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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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