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Court rules on media access to CHINS cases

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For the second time this month, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled on media access of CHINS records in a high-profile case involving the death of a child. In a ruling issued today in In the Matter of T.B., a child alleged to be a Child in Need of Services; Charity Bailey v. Indiana Newspapers, Inc., No. 49A02-0712-JV-1007, Charity Bailey challenged several orders issued by the Marion Superior Court, Juvenile Division, granting release of court and agency records to The Indianapolis Star and Fox 59 News following the death of her 3-year-old daughter, T.B. Bailey and her boyfriend, Lawrence Green, allegedly neglected and murdered T.B.

The juvenile court granted media access to a pending CHINS proceeding involving Bailey and T.B. at the time of T.B.'s death, a transcript of an August 2007 review hearing in the pending CHINS proceeding, a closed January 2006 CHINS proceeding involving Bailey and T.B., records of two juvenile delinquency proceedings involving Bailey, and Indiana Department of Child Services and Marion County Department of Child Services records involving T.B.

The appellate court affirmed the juvenile court in its release of the pending CHINS proceeding and the closed CHINS proceeding pursuant to Indiana Code Section 31-39-2-10, and IDCS and MCDCS records pursuant to I.C. Section 31-33-18-1.5, wrote Judge Terry Crone. The transcript of the pending proceeding shouldn't have been released, because under I.C. Section 31-32-6-2, the appellate court believed a "proceeding" is an actual hearing or trial, not the transcript of the hearing or trial. If the legislature had intended otherwise, it could have written the statute to include transcripts, wrote Judge Crone.

Bailey's juvenile delinquency proceedings records also shouldn't have been released because her alleged neglect and murder of T.B. weren't the basis for the delinquency actions, so the juvenile court erred in releasing them pursuant to I.C. 31-39-2-8. Also in the opinion, the Court of Appeals highlights I.C. Section 31-39-1-1, which provides that the confidentiality provisions of that chapter apply to all records of juvenile court except "records involving an adult charged with a crime or criminal contempt of court."

Noting it would be a futile exercise to try to determine which records fall under this exception now, the appellate court wrote it believed the legislative intent behind that exception applies only to juvenile court records that relate specifically to both the adult and the charged crime, wrote Judge Crone.

On Oct. 10, another Court of Appeals panel addressed the release of CHINS records to the media concerning the siblings of a murdered child in In the matter of K.B. and B.L; Amanda Brooks Lay, mother v. Department of Child Services. That panel found the trial court erred in releasing the caseworker's investigatory report and granting access to the siblings' CHINS records.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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