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Juvenile reversal sets new conditional admissions standard

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A Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday reversed a ruling in a juvenile case and set a new standard for how juvenile judges must handle conditional admission agreements when probable cause is disputed.

C.B., an 11-year-old girl, entered into a conditional admission agreement in which she admitted to what would have been Class A misdemeanor battery if committed by an adult for striking younger children. The state dropped a separate delinquency petition. If she didn’t reoffend within 90 days, C.B.’s remaining petition also would be dismissed. If she violated the agreement, her case would move immediately to disposition.

When the state filed probable cause for another alleged instance of battery, witnesses to that alleged offense could not attend the hearing, so the state dropped the petition. The trial court nevertheless moved to disposition, which the Court of Appeals ruled was error.
 
“We conclude that before a juvenile court can determine that a conditional admission agreement has failed based upon probable cause that a new offense has been committed, the juvenile court must independently find probable cause instead of merely relying on the probable cause finding that authorized the filing of the delinquency petition,” the majority ruled in C.B. v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1207-JV-379.

“Additionally, a juvenile must be given a meaningful opportunity to challenge the existence of probable cause. Here, because the juvenile court relied solely on the finding of the probable cause that supported the filing of the new delinquency petition, and C.B. was not given a meaningful opportunity to challenge probable cause, we reverse.

“The only evidence presented indicated that the incident did not occur. To be clear, we are not saying that anytime a juvenile presents evidence that tends to negate probable cause, a juvenile court must grant a motion to reconsider probable cause,” Judge John Baker wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Patricia Riley. “However, under these facts and circumstances where the only evidence indicates a lack of probable cause, it is error to deny a motion to reconsider probable cause.”

Judge Michael Barnes concurred in a separate opinion that said the facts of C.B.’s case should be considered without imposing such broad conditions. “I think the language used by the majority could be construed too broadly. I respectfully believe we must be careful not to overreach and that we should limit our holding to the particular facts of this case,” Barnes wrote.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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