Child in need of services

Mom’s one-time meth use does not support CHINS case

April 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
A mother’s isolated use of methamphetamine by itself is insufficient to sustain a child in need of services finding, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Divided court upholds principal’s conviction of failure to report child abuse

March 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A split Indiana Supreme Court Thursday upheld a misdemeanor failure to report child abuse conviction against former Muncie Central High School principal Christopher Smith. The dissent believed the state failed to show he had reason to believe an alleged rape was child abuse.
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Mother loses appeal of CHINS finding

March 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson

The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a mother’s argument that child in need of services findings should be vacated because the judge in the matter should not have been able to make a negative inference from her invocation of her Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

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Justices: Mother entitled to attorney during CHINS proceedings

March 14, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a mother was denied her statutory right to counsel during the course of child in need of services proceedings, and those proceedings directly flowed into the action to terminate her parental rights and adopt out her child, the Indiana Supreme Court vacated the judgment terminating her parental rights.
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Mother’s appeal of termination of parental rights dismissed

February 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed a mother’s appeal from the order terminating her parental rights to her twins, ruling she forfeited her right to appeal because she failed to file a timely notice of appeal.
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Justices: Facts don’t justify subjecting family to CHINS proceeding

February 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court reversed the finding that a child with special needs is a child in need of services after ruling that the circumstances of this case don’t support that the mother needed the court’s coercive intervention to address concerns in the CHINS petition.
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Evidence supports CHINS finding, COA affirms

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Based on evidence that a mother continued to have extensive problems with drugs and violent relationships with her children’s fathers, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the determination that a woman’s two young children were children in need of services.
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Court affirms CHINS finding of child abandoned by parents

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected arguments by parents that their son should have been found to be a child in need of services under Indiana Code 31-34-1-6 because he substantially endangers his own health or the health of his family members. The appellate judges affirmed the CHINS finding under I.C. 31-34-1-1 that the parents had abandoned the child once he was placed in an emergency shelter.
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Appeals court affirms out-of-state placement of child with father

December 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A mother whose son was placed with his father in California after the Department of Child Services found her children to be children in need of services failed to convince a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals that the placement was erroneous or that the DCS didn’t make a reasonable effort to preserve the family.
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In adoption case with no winners, SC offers suggestions to avoid similar situations

August 19, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In reversing the adoption that could remove fraternal twins from the only family they have ever known, the Indiana Supreme Court noted the situation might have been avoided if more than “just the bare minimum” had been done.
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Grants available for CHINS, termination of parental rights projects

July 18, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Court Improvement Program is accepting applications for projects that are designed to improve the safety and permanency of children and families involved in children in need of services and/or termination of parental rights proceedings.
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Mother not denied due process by denial of motion for continuance

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother living in Florida was not denied due process when her motion to continue a termination hearing involving her three children, who were determined to be in need of services in Indiana, was denied by the Cass Circuit Court, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Appeals court affirms terminating mother’s parental rights

May 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother who was close to reunification with her three children, deemed children in need of services, until she battered her fiancé in front of them had the termination of her parental rights affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Evidence does not support CHINS finding

April 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s determination that an infant is a child in need of services after finding the parents have improved their living situation that led to their three other children being removed. 
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Concerns about CHINS petitions raised during budget hearings

March 28, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
After the Indiana Department of Child Services made its presentation to the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday, the discussion quickly turned to Child in Need of Services petitions.
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Prosecutor can’t grant use immunity to parents of injured infant

March 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held Wednesday that a prosecutor can’t petition a court to compel a party to testify under the grant of use immunity when the party is the primary target of the investigation and has invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination if no charges have been filed or a grand jury proceeding hasn’t been initiated.
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Mother not denied due process by not having appointed counsel in CHINS case

March 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
While disappointed that a trial court did not follow through with the appointment of counsel for a mother regarding a child in need of services action, any error in that failure was harmless, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. It upheld the termination of mother J.A.’s parental rights to her son G.P.
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House Committee approves CHINS bill returning power to prosecuting attorneys

March 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A bill giving prosecuting attorneys the ability to file a Child in Need of Services petition continues to garner strong support in the Indiana General Assembly.
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Bills on magistrates; custody and visitation pass House

February 21, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana House of Representatives passed House Bill 1041 Thursday morning 96-0. The bill addresses petitions to modify custody and visitation involving children who have been abused or neglected.
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Court reverses DCS order requiring mother to take prescribed meds

February 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother whose child was adjudicated as child in need of services won a partial victory before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday.
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Indiana GAL/CASA program gets national grant

December 12, 2012
IL Staff
Indiana’s State Office of the GAL/CASA has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. The money will be used to support local programs that provide volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children in Indiana.
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DCS launching pilot to address children with mental health issues

September 18, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Department of Child Services announced Monday that it will fund a two-month pilot program that will utilize local services to provide help for juveniles with mental health issues.
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Appeals court reverses termination of father’s rights

September 11, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Department of Child Services failed to prove that a father’s children were removed for cause required under state statute, and the trial court erred in terminating the parental rights of the Dearborn County man.
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Mom’s progress leads court to reverse termination

August 13, 2012
Dave Stafford
A Grant County mother who lost parental rights to twin children won a reversal of the termination order after the Indiana Court of Appeals noted her progress in areas of concern to the Department of Child Services.
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Judges reverse CHINS determination

June 13, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the determination that a brother and sister are children in need of services, finding there was “simply no evidence” to support the finding.
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  1. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  2. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  3. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  4. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  5. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

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