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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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