ILNews

Judges affirm finding teen is a CHINS

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the finding that a 17-year-old is a child in need of services, ruling that evidence of her drug test wasn't irrelevant and was properly admitted by the trial court.

Teenager S.W. argued the trial court erred by admitting evidence of her marijuana use and that the Miami County Department of Child Services didn't present sufficient evidence to prove she is a CHINS.

A police officer saw S.W. and her friend A.C. walking along a rural road 12 miles from S.W.'s home around 11 p.m. A.C.'s mother called police to report she had run away. The officer called S.W.'s parents but her father told the officer they weren't coming to get her and that the officer should deal with the situation.

S.W. spoke with a family case manager, who also couldn't get her parents to pick up the phone. S.W. admitted to previous drug use and abuse in the home and was placed in a temporary shelter. The trial court admitted evidence of S.W.'s positive drug test for marijuana over her objection at the fact-finding hearing and authorized the filing of a CHINS petition. The trial court eventually determined S.W. is a CHINS.

The appellate court upheld that finding in In the matter of S.W., a child in need of services v. Indiana Department of Child Services, No. 52A05-0910-JV-1005. S.W. argued she was illegally detained when the drug test was administered so it shouldn't have been admitted, but S.W. was never illegally detained. The police officer attempted to have her parents pick her up but they refused. The officer then called DCS and took S.W. to the police station to ensure her safety, wrote Judge Patricia Riley. At the time of the drug test, DCS had probable cause to believe S.W. was a CHINS due to lack of supervision by her parents and received an order for temporary custody.

The Court of Appeals also rejected S.W.'s argument that the evidence of the drug use is irrelevant.

"Although an adequately supervised teenager may find ways in which to experiment with illicit drugs, a child's drug use can be a direct product of a lack of parental supervision," which would be relevant to the CHINS proceedings, wrote Judge Riley.

The judges also found S.W. was provided notice that her drug use could be an issue. S.W. told the case manager that domestic violence, drug use and abuse continued to happen in her home following DCS' previous involvement with the family one year earlier, so that put her and her family on notice that drug use by anyone in the home could be an issue in the CHINS proceeding, wrote Judge Riley.

Her parents refused to pick S.W. up, didn't answer repeated phone calls, and didn't inquire about her whereabouts when she didn't return home that night. Based on her parents actions, and S.W.'s statement about the previous drug abuse and violence in the home, DCS presented sufficient evidence to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that S.W.'s physical or mental condition was seriously endangered by her parents' refusal or neglect to provide necessary supervision, wrote the judge.

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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