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Justices uphold probation revocation for child support non-payment

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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.

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  4. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  5. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

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