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Dismissal of delinquency petition doesn’t endanger public

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A juvenile court didn’t err in dismissing a delinquency petition against a teen who was found to be incompetent to stand trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. The judges also found dismissing the petition did not unduly endanger the public.

J.S. has a history of psychological and developmental difficulties, for which he has taken medication and received services. The state alleged in 2009 that J.S. was a delinquent child for committing what would be Class B felony criminal deviate conduct, Class C felony child molesting, Class C felony confinement, and Class D felony intimidation if committed by an adult.

J.S. asked for a determination of his competence to stand trial and two doctors found he was incompetent and didn’t understand the gravity of the charges against him. One doctor found he understood he was in a serious situation, has a fairly good understanding of court proceeding, and was competent to stand trial.

The juvenile court found him to be incompetent and dismissed the petition.

In State of Indiana v. J.S., No. 49A02-1004-JV-567, the Court of Appeals upheld the court’s decision finding J.S. incompetent to stand trial. They noted the thorough, extensive expert reports that found J.S. didn’t understand the magnitude of the charges against him, and he couldn’t assist his defense.

The state argued for the petition to remain pending while J.S. received treatment and attempted to achieve competency. Chief Judge John Baker noted that the appellate court recently found in an adult criminal context, this same scenario is a violation of due process to allow criminal charges to indefinitely hang over a defendant’s head while he or she is incompetent to stand trial and will remain incompetent.

“Here, although the experts did not reach a conclusion as to whether J.S. will ever regain competency, we note that he is a juvenile and, as such, there is only a limited amount of time left until he is an adult and no longer subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts,” he wrote. “Furthermore, the record reveals that J.S. has suffered from—and been treated for—multiple debilitating social and developmental disorders for much of his young life, and the juvenile court would not have abused its discretion to have concluded, based on this record, that J.S. is unlikely to regain competency before he reaches the age of eighteen, if ever.”

The state also claimed the goal of protecting the community isn’t served by dismissing the petition against J.S. free and clear of any counseling or other requirements. But the record shows J.S. has attended counseling sessions, taken medication for his issues, and that his family has attempted to help him through different programs.

“Given this record, it is clear that J.S. is receiving the care, protection, treatment, and rehabilitation that he needs. Furthermore, the adults in his life at home, at school, and at the counseling center have set up safeguards to protect the public,” wrote the chief judge.
 

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  1. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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