ILNews

High court to hear arguments on CHINS case

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The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday in a Marion County case dealing with whether a child can be determined in need of services with respect to one parent but not the other.

Set for 9 a.m., the arguments come in the case of In re The Matter of N.E.; N.L. v. Marion County Department of Child Services and Child Advocates, Inc., No. 49A02-0806-JV-522. The Marion Superior Juvenile Court ruled that N.E. was a Child In Need of Services, but the father, N.L., appealed the judgment, saying the evidence didn't support the girl was a CHINS with respect to him. An appellate panel on March 19, 2009, reversed and remanded, concluding that although the child was in need of services with respect to the mother, the juvenile court hadn't determined whether the father was willing and able to parent the child appropriately.

Judges Patricia Riley and Carr Darden, who made up the majority in the 2-1 decision, noted that due process is at stake in this case. Citing four-year-old precedent from In re J.Q., No. 836 N.E.2d 961 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), they noted, "Specifically, we are concerned that procedural irregularities, like an absence of clear findings of fact, in a CHINS proceeding may be of such import that they deprive a parent of procedural due process with respect to a potential subsequent termination of parental rights.'"

In writing for the majority, Judge Riley did not say the father would automatically have custody but that the juvenile court should determine whether the father is willing and able to appropriately parent N.E. because that child is a CHINS with respect to mother.

Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented with her own eight-page opinion.

"I believe that a child is either a CHINS or is not a CHINS and that the DCS has met its burden of proving that N.E. is a CHINS," she wrote. "However, because I believe that the juvenile court's dispositional order falls short of the statutory requirements and therefore we do not know the court's reason for its disposition, I would remand this case for a new dispositional order in accordance with Indiana Code 31-34-19-10.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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