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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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