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In Theron W. Hunter v. State of Indiana, No. 69A01-0702-CR-061, the court will take up an issue addressed in an unpublished memorandum decision from the Court of Appeals in June.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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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