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Judges dismiss state’s appeal regarding juvenile delinquency petition

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the state has no statutory right to appeal a juvenile court’s decision to rescind an order approving the filing of a delinquency petition against a teen accused of molesting two children.

I.T. already was adjudicated as a delinquent for committing what would be Class B felony child molesting if committed by an adult when he admitted during a court-ordered polygraph examination to molesting his younger brother and a cousin. He was required as part of his treatment program to undergo the polygraph tests.

I.T.’s statements were reported to the Department of Child Services and police. He was later interviewed by a police detective and admitted to molesting the children. The state then filed a delinquency petition alleging he committed what would be child molesting if committed by an adult. The juvenile court originally approved the filing of the delinquency petition, but later rescinded it after I.T. filed a motion to dismiss.

I.T. argued that the allegations arose from his disclosures during his treatment and they are inadmissible under Indiana Code 31-37-8-4.5. Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker concluded the statute confers immunity with respect to the statements I.T. made during his polygraph test and any evidence gained as a result of those disclosures.

Juvenile law allows for appeals to be taken as provided by law, which incorporates existing law found outside the juvenile code. This includes the procedural rule requiring statutory authorization for the state to appeal in criminal matters. The state may appeal from an order granting a motion to dismiss an indictment or information.

In State of Indiana v. I.T., 20A03-1202-JV-76, the Court of Appeals decided that the juvenile order doesn’t constitute an order granting a motion to dismiss.

“Prior to the commencement of juvenile delinquency proceedings, however, the filing of a delinquency petition must be approved by the juvenile court,” Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote. “It seems evident to us that a juvenile court’s order declining to approve the filing of a delinquency petition under I.C. § 31-37-10-2 is not ‘an order granting a motion to dismiss an indictment or information’ for the purposes of I.C. § 35-38-4-2(1). Rather, a juvenile court’s decision not to approve the filing of a juvenile delinquency petition prevents the initiation of juvenile proceedings in the first place. One cannot dismiss a proceeding that was really never commenced to begin with.”

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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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