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Judges uphold inpatient treatment for juvenile

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Because the record shows that a juvenile’s placement at an inpatient treatment facility is consistent with the goals for the teen’s rehabilitation, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the juvenile court’s placement order. The judges also found they did not have jurisdiction to rule on the teen’s claim that the juvenile court violated his due process rights by accepting his conditional plea on a child molesting count.

D.A. was 13 when he was accused of touching a 3-year-old girl’s vagina. D.A. entered into a plea agreement where he admitted to Class B misdemeanor battery when committed by an adult in exchange for the state dismissing a Class B felony child molesting charge. D.A. also “conditionally” pleaded guilty to a Class C felony child molesting charge when committed by an adult; the juvenile court took his admission on that count under advisement and if he completed the terms of his probation successfully, the state would move to dismiss the count. If he violated his terms of probation, the court could proceed to disposition on the count.

At a hearing, D.A. admitted to touching the girl’s vagina, but the element of intent was never established. The juvenile court found sufficient factual basis to find the petition true. The probation department recommended formal probation with inpatient placement for sex offender counseling. D.A.’s attorney sought outpatient treatment. The juvenile judge ordered D.A. serve at the inpatient facility.

D.A. attempted to appeal the juvenile court’s acceptance of his conditional plea on the child molesting count, arguing that the evidence didn’t show his intent to arouse or satisfy his sexual desires, which is an element of the crime of child molesting. Because his plea on that count was conditional, it is equivalent to a withheld judgment and so there is no final judgment or appealable order from which to appeal, wrote Judge Edward Najam in D.A. v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1108-JV-692. Thus, the appellate court does not have jurisdiction to resolve that issue.

The judges also found that D.A. can’t show that the dispositional hearing violated fundamental fairness. Based on the facts, the COA cannot say that the court abused its discretion in placing D.A. in the inpatient facility.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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