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Mental health witnesses, nonsupport bills move to governor’s desk

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The Indiana Senate Wednesday concurred with changes made to legislation outlining who a court may appoint in determining whether a defendant is insane. On Tuesday, senators approved language in the expungement bill granting the Board of Law Examiners access to sealed expunged conviction records.

Senate Bill 88 breaks down mental health witnesses into two categories: those who can be appointed in cases in which the defendant is not charged with a homicide offense under I.C. 35-42-1 and those who can be appointed when a defendant is charged under that statute. The bill passed 48-1.

Senators also concurred with changes the House of Representatives made to SB 63 regarding nonsupport of a child. The legislation changes the penalty enhancement for nonsupport of a child from a Level 6 felony to a Level 5 felony if the person has a previous conviction for the offense. Current law says the felony level increases if the total amount of support owed is at least $15,000. The bill also outlines when the sentencing court may lower a conviction for nonsupport. It passed the Senate 42-6.

SB 27 on petitions for adoptions passed the Senate on a concurrent vote of 48-0. The legislation prohibits an adoption while certain appeals are pending and also provides that the court in which a petition for adoption has been filed has exclusive jurisdiction over the child if there is a petition for adoption and a paternity action pending at the same time.

The bill also asks for a study committee to look at whether a father who has abandoned a birth mother during pregnancy should be required to consent to the adoption of the child.

Senators Tuesday voted 42-6 to pass House Bill 1155 on expungement. The bill rectifies the current inconsistent procedures for expunging arrest records and specifies where a petition for expungement must be filed. The bill grants a defense attorney and probation department access to expunged records if authorized by a court order. HB 1155 also grants access to expunged records to the Indiana Supreme Court and State Board of Law Examiners to determine a person’s fitness for admission to the bar.

Senators voted 45-2 to pass HB 1006, which reconciles technical and substantive conflicts between the legislation overhauling the criminal code, HEA 1006-2013, and other bills on criminal law. It went to the House with amendments, which the House dissented on Wednesday, sending the bill to a conference committee.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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