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Mother not denied due process by denial of motion for continuance

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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.

In Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: S.S., J.S., and C.S. (Minor Children) and, T.S. (Mother) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services, 09A02-1211-JT-936, mother T.S. argued she should have been allowed additional time to be present at the termination hearing for her three children because she lives in Florida. T.S. and the three children have been involved with child protective services in three states – including Indiana – due to the mother’s history of domestic violence and the children’s poor health conditions.

After the children were removed from her care in Indiana, but before the termination hearing, T.S. moved to Florida while expecting her fourth child. The Department of Child Services and her attorney communicated with her and told her of the date of the termination hearing, but she did not appear. Her attorney filed a motion for continuance which was denied because the court wanted to move toward establishing permanency for the children, who had been out of mother’s care for almost a year. Several experts testified terminating the parental rights was in the children’s best interests. T.S.’s rights were ended Oct. 22, 2012.

The Court of Appeals noted that the children suffered from medical conditions that required treatment and preventative measures and T.S. did not properly care for them. She was not willing to participate in services and often left the children unattended during visits. Since the children’s removal, they have improved.

The judges found T.S. failed to show prejudice by the termination. She was aware of the date of the termination hearing, had an attorney, and knew how to contact her counsel.

“Upon balancing the Mother’s interest, the risk of error by not having Mother present, and the State’s interest in protecting the welfare of these children, we conclude that under the facts and circumstances of this case, the juvenile court did not deny Mother due process of law when it denied her motion for a continuance,” Judge John Baker wrote.

 

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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