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Court affirms termination of parental rights for drug-using mom, dad

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A mother who used methamphetamine while pregnant and continued to abuse drugs after her children were judged in need of services was properly denied parental rights, as was the children’s often-absent father, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

The Sullivan Superior Court did not err or abuse discretion in its decisions to place the children with grandparents and revoke parental rights in In the Matter of the Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of A.P. & Au.P.; M.H. & T.P. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services, 77A01-1202-JT-59.

The appeals court noted that mother M.H. passed only four of 53 drug screens under court supervision that resulted from the CHINS adjudication and that father T.P. indicated he was uninterested in services and failed to participate.

“Mother’s strong bond with the children does not eradicate the effects that her continued behavior has and will have upon them. Based upon the family case manager’s and the guardian ad litem’s testimonies, and upon the totality of circumstances … we cannot conclude that the trial court erred in determining that termination is in the children’s best interests,” Judge Rudolph R. Pyle III wrote for the unanimous court.

The court also rejected the father’s and maternal grandmother’s arguments that the father had developed a bond with the children during unauthorized visits. “Given the trial court’s discretion to determine the credibility of evidence, including evidence regarding Father’s continuing pattern of neglect towards the children, we cannot say that the trial court erred in giving credence to the guardian ad litem’s and family case manager’s professional opinions regarding the best interests of the children,” Pyle wrote.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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