ILNews

Mother loses appeal of CHINS finding

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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.

The Department of Child Services filed a petition alleging that A.G. was a CHINS after several doctors had concerns that his mother M.K. was causing the baby’s cyanotic episodes, which caused his skin to turn blue, his eyes to roll back in his head and his body to stiffen. A.G. was diagnosed with mild to moderate pulmonary hypertension, which is common among his father’s relatives. But M.K. was the only one to witness a cyanotic episode. The doctors were concerned if he was left in her care, he could die.

When A.G. was removed from M.K.’s care, he only had one episode, which was attributed to his diagnosis.  

While the CHINS proceeding was pending, an evaluation by a board-certified clinical psychiatrist determined that mother is afflicted with Factitious Disorder by Proxy and is responsible for A.G.’s life-threatening cyanotic episodes.

After A.K. was born, the child was also removed from mother’s care and a CHINS petition filed.

During the CHINS proceedings, M.K. refused to testify. The children were adjudicated as CHINS, during which the trial court entered the conclusion, “Mother’s refusal to testify in the state’s case in chief draws a negative inference that Mother was concerned about incriminating herself through her testimony, further indicative of mother’s guilt.”

M.K. only appealed this finding, arguing the rule in Gash v. Kohm, 476 N.E.2d 910, 913 (Ind. Ct. App. 1985), should not apply in CHINS proceedings. The rule outlined in Gash does not prohibit a trier of fact in a civil case from drawing adverse inferences from a witnesses’ refusal to testify.

In In the Matter of A.G. and A.K. Children Alleged to be in Need of Services, M.K. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, 82A05-1306-JC-297, the Court of Appeals found the mother could not support her contentions or make a cogent argument based on public policy or constitutional law. Since she doesn’t challenge the remainder of the findings and conclusions, the adjudication stands.
 

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  2. Oh, and you fail to mention that you deprived the father of far FAR more time than he ever did you, even requiring officers to escort the children back into his care. Please, can you see that you had a huge part in "starting the war?" Patricia, i can't understand how painfully heartbreak ithis ordeal must have been for you. I read the appellate case and was surprised to see both sides of the story because your actions were harmful to your child; more so than the fathers. The evidence wasn't re weighed. It was properly reviewed for abuse of discretion as the trial court didn't consider whether a change of circumstance occurred or follow and define the statutes that led to their decision. Allowing a child to call a boyfriend "daddy" and the father by his first name is unacceptable. The first time custody was reversed to father was for very good reason. Self reflection in how you ultimately lost primary custody is the only way you will be able heal and move forward. Forgiveness of yourself comes after recognition and I truly hope you can get past the hurt and pain to allow your child the stability and care you recognized yourself that the father provides.

  3. Patricia, i can't understand how painfully heartbreak ithis ordeal must have been for you. I read the appellate case and was surprised to see both sides of the story because your actions were harmful to your child; more so than the fathers. The evidence wasn't re weighed. It was properly reviewed for abuse of discretion as the trial court didn't consider whether a change of circumstance occurred or follow and define the statutes that led to their decision. Allowing a child to call a boyfriend "daddy" and the father by his first name is unacceptable. The first time custody was reversed to father was for very good reason. Self reflection in how you ultimately lost primary custody is the only way you will be able heal and move forward. Forgiveness of yourself comes after recognition and I truly hope you can get past the hurt and pain to allow your child the stability and care you recognized yourself that the father provides.

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