Mom’s conviction due to child’s school absences upheld

Jennifer Nelson
August 30, 2012
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The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that an Indianapolis mother was not unlawfully denied a right to a jury trial on her Class B misdemeanor failure to ensure school attendance charge.

Dana Young’s child, M.D. had nine unexcused absences and six or seven tardies during the 2010-2011 school year. School counselors and both schools M.D. attended during that year attempted to contact Young about the absences. Young complained to school officials they wanted her “to be a superwoman” and that M.D. missed school one day because they overslept and M.D. missed the bus.

She was charged in June 2011 with the Class B misdemeanor. On Aug. 4, 2011, she signed a written advisement of her rights, which included her right to a jury trial. She did not request one within 10 days of the start of her trial as required by Indiana Rule of Criminal Procedure 22, which governs misdemeanors. A bench trial was conducted, and she was convicted.

Young argued that since she was charged with a misdemeanor that arose from an offense in the juvenile code, Indiana Code 31-32-6-7(b) should apply instead of Criminal Rule 22.

“Young, however, provides no authority supporting her position that Criminal Rule 22 does not apply to criminal misdemeanor charges arising from offenses set forth in the juvenile code, and we find none. Because Young was charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense, we conclude that Criminal Rule 22 applies to the instant matter,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote in Dana Young v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1201-JM-18.

Young failed to request a jury trial after indicating she understood the time limitations set forth in the advisement of her rights, so she effectively waived her right to a jury trial, the judges held.   



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