Deadlocked justices reinstate COA order allowing juvenile arrest expungement

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After the four participating justices who heard arguments in an expungement case Thursday became deadlocked over the case’s proper disposition, the Indiana Supreme Court reinstated the Court of Appeals order granting a juvenile expungement petition.

The justices followed Appellate Rule 58, which is designed to move a case when the high court hits gridlock.

After hearing arguments in the case of T.A. v. State, 62 N.E.3d 436 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016), which dealt with the question of whether an expungement petition can be granted if the petitioner is arrested after the petition is filed, Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justices Robert Rucker, Steve David and Mark Massa were evenly divided over what the outcome of the case should be, according to an order posted Friday but dated Thursday, the same day as the arguments. Justice Geoffrey Slaughter did not participate in the arguments.

In the case, 19-year-old T.A. had filed for expungement of juvenile arrests when he was subsequently arrested for an apparent misdemeanor. His counsel argued that under the plain language of Indiana Code 35-38-9-1(e), his petition could still be granted because he had no pending charges “upon receipt” of the petition in court, or the date it was filed.

The state, however, urged the justices to hold that courts have discretion when granting such petitions. The trial court denied T.A.’s petition, but the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed and remanded with instructions to grant it.

Under Appellate Rule 58(C), when “the Supreme Court is evenly divided after transfer has been granted, the decision of the Court of Appeals shall be reinstated.” Thus, the Thursday order reinstated the COA’s reversal of the trial court’s denial of T.A.’s petition, allowing him to have his juvenile arrests expunged. Petitions for rehearing will not be allowed, according to the order.


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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....