ILNews

Justices grant 2 transfers

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court granted two transfers this week:

One case involves the probation revocation that followed a man's questionable communications with minor children he wasn't supposed to be around. The other involves a question of which "home state" child custody and visitation issues should be heard based on federal and state statutes.

In Theron W. Hunter v. State of Indiana, No. 69A01-0702-CR-061, the court will take up an issue addressed in an unpublished memorandum decision from the Court of Appeals in June. The action stems from Ripley County where Hunter pleaded guilty to child molesting in 2001 and served his time, was released, and put on probation. He bought a trailer on his father's property, living about 25 feet from another trailer where his sister and three children resided. He informed everyone about not being able to be around the kids, and his probation officer told Hunter he'd have to change the arrangement. Hunter said he was around the children at times but left when they came nearby and never actually communicated with them. A probation violation was filed and the trial court determined Hunter had violated his probation. It revoked probation and ordered him to serve the entire four-year suspended sentence.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals determined there was sufficient evidence to support the probation revocation because Hunter had admitted he came into contact with the minor children multiple times and didn't notify his probation officer within 24 hours. Hunter had argued he didn't have actual communications with them, while the state sought the revocation based on his prohibited contact.

Justices also granted transfer in a marriage case, Anthony N. Stewart v. Signe L. (Stewart) Vulliet, No. 12A02-0610-CV-896. This case from Clinton Superior Court involves child custody and visitation issues being handled by courts in both the states of Washington and Indiana and how the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and Indiana Code 31-17-3 apply.

The mother and father married in August 1992 in Washington and lived there for 11 years before moving to Indiana where Stewart's family resided, though Vulliet's family continued living in Washington. She filed for dissolution in November 2003 in Indiana before moving back to Washington, where the couple's daughter was born in February 2004.

The Clinton Superior judge eventually granted the mother's motion to dismiss custody and visitation issues pursuant to the state and federal statutes, in that Indiana is an inconvenient forum because the child was born in Washington and has always been the home state. However, the court ordered that child support issues would remain in Indiana.

Indiana appellate judges wrote in a May 30 opinion that the mother waived any objection regarding the daughter's home state under the UCCJA because she didn't bring it up initially. But the appeals court also reversed the trial court's granting of her motion to dismiss custody and visitation issues.

"The Washington court clearly gave Mother a more favorable custody arrangement and visitation schedule than the Indiana court had ordered .... The timing and sequence of events in this case give the appearance that Mother was attempting to manipulate the UCCJA to gain a favorable result," the court wrote, citing past appellate caselaw from 1999. "We conclude that ... the trial court erred by granting Mother's motion to dismiss the custody and visitation issues based on inconvenient forum."
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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  2. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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