ILNews

Justices accept parental-rights termination case

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The Indiana Supreme Court has taken a Marion County case involving the termination of a mother’s parental rights in which the Indiana Court of Appeals took issue with several details in the case.

The appellate judges affirmed the termination of mother Z.G.’s rights to her daughter C.G. in Term. Of Parent-Child Rel. of C.G.; Z.G. v. I.D.C.S., No. 49S04-1101-JT-46, ruling her due process rights weren’t significantly comprised by her telephonic participation because she was represented by counsel, she testified at the hearing, and was able to authenticate exhibits her counsel sent her. But they noted several concerns, including that one Department of Child Services case manager’s affidavit of diligent inquiry filed when DCS sought to serve notice upon Z.G. by publication contained an inaccuracy. The case manager didn’t contact any family acquaintances as stated in the affidavit.

The DCS case manager also didn’t tell the mother that a child in need of services case was pending in his response letter to the mother, who wrote to the case manager in November 2008. She didn’t learn of the proceeding until she got an advisement or rights form and copy of the CHINS petition in a February 2009 letter.

The Court of Appeals judges were also troubled by the Marion Superior Court’s policy that juvenile prisoners cannot be within sight or hearing of adult prisoners, and the Juvenile Division lacks the facilities to separately house adult and juvenile offenders at the Juvenile Center. Z.G. had asked to appear in person at the termination and child in need of services proceedings in Marion Juvenile Court, but she was denied and she appeared by telephone.

The justices denied transfer to 12 other cases for the week ending Jan. 28.

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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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