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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. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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