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Judges reverse teen’s adjudication for school absences, tardies

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The state didn’t show that a teenager was in need of care, treatment, or rehabilitation regarding school attendance, so his adjudication as a delinquent child for missing school should be reversed, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In C.S. v. State of Indiana, No. 67A01-1101-JS-19, the state filed a delinquency petition in November 2010 alleging C.S. violated the attendance law. C.S. was a sophomore at North Putnam High School and at the time the petition was filed, he had one full-day unexcused absence, was marked absent from class without excuse for five class periods, and was tardy 12 times during the fall semester. C.S. was grounded by his mother after she learned of the absences and afterward, he was no longer tardy or had unexcused absences for the fall semester.

After a fact-finding hearing, the juvenile court found C.S. violated the attendance law and sentenced him to six months formal probation.

On appeal, C.S. claimed the state never presented evidence to prove that he was in need of care, treatment, or rehabilitation, which is required to adjudicate a child for a status offense such as violating the attendance law.

Relating to this issue, the state only presented C.S.’s attendance record and evidence of C.S.’s school performance relating to his attitude, not his attendance. The state argued that C.S.’s violation of the compulsory attendance law implicitly showed he needed care, treatment, or rehabilitation, but the judges dismissed that argument citing R.B. v. State, 839 N.E.2d 1282, 1283 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), and G.N. v. State, 833 N.E.2d 1071, 1075 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005).

“The present case can be readily distinguished. In R.B., the juvenile had twenty-three full-day, unexcused absences and in G.N., fifteen full-day, unexcused absences. In the present case, C.S. had one unexcused full-day absence. In absence of any other evidence that C.S. was in need of care, treatment or rehabilitation regarding school attendance, we cannot infer such need from a single unexcused absence,” wrote Judge James Kirsch.

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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