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Legislature announces summer study committees

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The Legislative Council of the Indiana General Assembly has assigned the study topics various committees will examine this summer and fall. Some of the areas include creating a centralized department of administrative law judges and review of various Department of Child Services practices.

The Commission on Courts will look at whether ALJs should be organized under one department within the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. The commission will look at the fiscal impact and logistics of implementing what is known as the “Texas model.”

Senate Enrolled Act 286 spelled out several areas that the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee will take a look at this year, including progress and improvements made by the department since its creation in 2005. The committee will also look at how it’s determined whether a family or child is eligible for DCS services, critical problems within DCS, and the communication between family court and DCS to collaborate on families’ involvement in each entity.

The Commission on Mental Health and Addiction is also going to look at juvenile matters brought up in SEA 286. The commission will study whether prosecuting attorneys should be allowed to file a petition alleging a child is in need of services under Indiana Code 31-41-1-6. A Morgan County judge recently ruled in a CHINS case that DCS is correct that a prosecutor does not have statutory authority to file a CHINS petition. The Morgan County prosecutor met with DCS prior to filing the CHINS petition, but DCS did nothing until the prosecutor filed the CHINS 6 petition. DCS argued that only it had the authority to file CHINS petitions.  

Morgan Circuit Judge Matthew G. Hanson wrote in his May 15 order that it seemed like a “grave mistake” for the Legislature to previously remove prosecutors or anyone else from the ability to file these cases. Hanson wrote that the issue presented in this case cannot be left to die as it is one that is likely problematic throughout the state in regards to how DCS is refusing to handle mental health and disease cases as they should be.

The Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee will examine the provisions of I.C. 24-4-18 regarding criminal history providers and the need for any legislation to amend that statute before it takes effect July 1, 2013. As of that date, a criminal history provider must update its records annually to remove inaccurate information and information that has been expunged, restricted or limited; and only disclose certain information relating to a conviction. House Enrolled Act 1033 makes it a Class B infraction for an employer to ask if a person’s criminal records have been sealed or restricted and sets out the method for a court to convert a Class D felony conviction to a Class A misdemeanor conviction.

The committee will also study the criteria necessary to require someone to register as a sex or violent offender, how long one should remain on the registry, and what constitutes relief when registration requirements have been fulfilled.

A complete list of the study committees and topics is available here.

 

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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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