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Evidence failed to support ending parental rights

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's ruling to involuntarily terminate a mother's parental rights to her young twins, finding the court issued deficient termination orders and lacked clear and convincing evidence to terminate the parental rights.

Charlotte Moore appealed the termination of her parental rights over the twins, C.R.M. and C.B.M., in Charlotte Moore v. Jasper County Department of Child Services, No. 37A03-0803-JV-103.

The twin toddlers were removed after the Jasper County Department of Child Services was informed by police of Moore's confrontation with her two oldest children while all three were drinking. Moore had a history of referrals to JCDCS for neglect, abuse, or lack of supervision, but not all of the referrals were substantiated.

At the time of the fact-finding hearing nearly two years after the children were removed from Moore's care, she had married, enrolled in school, regained custody of two of her other minor children, gotten a driver's license, obtained suitable housing, and re-initiated individual counseling.

JCDCS testified Moore's parental rights should be terminated; the twin's guardian ad litem opposed the termination based on the progress Moore had made since the children had been removed. The Jasper Circuit Court terminated Moore's rights to her twins.

But the trial court failed to follow Indiana statute when issuing its order, the Indiana Court of Appeals found. The orders didn't list the specific requirements that must be alleged and proved by clear and convincing evidence, wrote Judge Edward Najam. The trial court's orders appear to be a recitation of the evidence presented at the hearing; in addition, the court didn't make any conclusions based on its findings and failed to explain how its findings support the judgment, wrote the judge.

It appears the trial court based its termination order on Moore's ability to care for her children at the time the children were taken away, not at the time of the termination hearing. Moore had made significant strides in accomplishing many of the dispositional goals put in place by the JCDCS. The trial court's order wasn't supported by clear and convincing evidence and the JCDCS failed to show there is a reasonable probability the conditions leading to the twins' removal wouldn't be remedied and that continuing the mother-child relationship poses a threat to the children's well-being, wrote Judge Najam.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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