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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. 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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