Court of Appeals dismisses termination-order appeal

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Because the parents of six children who were removed from their home did not timely initiate the appeal of termination of their parental rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed their appeal.

Father F.L. and mother C.B. appealed the trial court orders terminating their parental rights. The five youngest children were placed in foster care because of domestic violence and drug use; the oldest child was already out of the home in a residential placement due to a delinquency case. All the children were adjudicated as children in need of services.

On Aug. 20, 2010, the trial court terminated their parental rights to the five youngest children; on Aug. 23, the court terminated their parental rights to the oldest child. On Aug. 30, C.B. filed a notice of intent to appeal and request for appointment of counsel with the trial court; the father filed an identical notice the next day. The same appellate counsel was appointed to represent the parents. On Sept. 23, their appellate attorney filed a notice of appeal, requesting assembly of the clerk’s record and preparation of the transcript.

The parents filed a motion for permission to file belated notice of appeal with the trial court on Jan. 18, 2011. The trial court entered an order finding it had no authority to grant such relief in a civil matter, and filed with the COA a Notice to Court of Appeals of Untimely Notice of Appeal.

In Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of D.L., et al.; F.L. and C.B. v. I.D.C.S., No. 20A05-1009-JT-635, the appellate court found the parents’ appeal to be untimely. The judges rejected the parents’ argument that their notice of intent to appeal is “functionally equivalent” to the required notice of appeal. The notices of intent filed in August didn’t fulfill the requirements of a notice of appeal as described in Indiana Appellate Rule 9, wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb.

The parents also claimed that the notice of appeal is similar to the Indiana Tort Claims Act’s notice of tort claim requirements. But compliance with the notice requirements of the Tort Claims Act is a procedural precedent; the notice of appeal is jurisdictional, the judge wrote.

“Moreover, even if we were inclined to agree that the two should be treated similarly, the Notices of Intent to Appeal filed by Parents in this case do not fulfill the purpose of the notice of appeal requirement – to serve as a mechanism to alert the trial court and the parties of the initiation of an appeal and to trigger action by the trial court clerk and court reporter, setting in motion the filing deadlines imposed by the Appellate Rules,” she wrote.

The judges then reviewed the record because of the constitutional dimensions of the case and found no clear error in the trial court’s decision.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues