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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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