ILNews

Justices uphold probation revocation for child support non-payment

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A trial judge was correct in revoking a man’s probation based on his failure to pay weekly child support as a condition of his probation, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled.

In Troy R. Smith v. State of Indiana, No. 35S02-1106-CR-369, the justices unanimously affirmed Huntington Superior Judge Jeffrey Heffelfinger’s decision involving a felony case of non-support.


Troy Smith pleaded guilty in May 2007 to Class D felony of non-support of a dependent child, regarding $4,671.13 that he hadn’t paid. Though Smith remained current on his payments through November 2008, he started making partial payments on his support and arrearage or stopped periodically. His probation officer field a revocation petition in March 2010.

Concluding that Smith had violated the terms of his probation by failing to pay current support every week, the trial court revoked Smith’s probation and ordered him to serve the remainder of his three-year sentence. The Court of Appeals last year reversed, finding the state didn’t meet its burden in proving that Smith had the ability to pay and that the probation shouldn’t have been fully revoked.

The justices pointed to their decision two years ago in Runyon v. State, 939 N.E.2d 613, 616 (Ind. 2010), which dealt with a similar issue and answered many of the questions that Smith has raised in his arguments. The court noted in Runyon that state law allows probation to be revoked for a probation condition violation, but if that violation involves a financial obligation, then the probationer must have “recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally” failed to pay.

The justices determined that the trial judge is the fact finder who’s best able to reasonably conclude whether Smith met that standard in failing to pay current or past child support as required. Since Smith failed to carry his burden in convincing the trial judge, the justices found that the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in revoking Smith’s probation.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  2. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  3. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  4. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  5. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

ADVERTISEMENT