ILNews

Dismissal of delinquency petition doesn’t endanger public

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share


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.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Put aside all the marijuana concerns, we are talking about food and fiber uses here. The federal impediments to hemp cultivation are totally ridiculous. Preposterous. Biggest hemp cultivators are China and Europe. We get most of ours from Canada. Hemp is as versatile as any crop ever including corn and soy. It's good the governor laid the way for this, regrettable the buffoons in DC stand in the way. A statutory relic of the failed "war on drugs"

  2. Cannabis is GOOD for our PEOPLE and GOOD for our STATE... 78% would like to see legal access to the product line for better Hoosier Heath. There is a 25% drop in PAIN KILLER Overdoses in states where CANNABIS is legal.

  3. This article is excellent and should be required reading for all attorneys and would-be attorneys, regardless of age or experience. I've caught myself committing several of the errors mentioned.

  4. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  5. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

ADVERTISEMENT