Requiring deaf mom to sign doesn’t violate due process

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A mother whose parental rights were terminated was not denied due process when a judge who couldn’t understand her spoken testimony required her to sign to an interpreter who then spoke her responses aloud.

Hamilton Circuit Judge Paul Felix terminated the parental rights of R.K., which the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.

“Trial courts have wide latitude to control the flow of the proceedings and the presentation of evidence. In some cases, an interpreter may be required to ensure that the trier of fact hears and understands a witness’s testimony,” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote for the panel.

“Here, the trial court could not understand Mother when she attempted to testify orally. As a result, the trial court required Mother to testify by signing to an interpreter, who then spoke Mother’s responses aloud. We conclude that this procedure did not violate Mother’s due-process rights,” Vaidik wrote. “We also conclude that there is sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s decision to terminate the parent-child relationship. We affirm.”  

The court acknowledged R.K.’s preference to communicate orally. “But we can conceive of no other method the trial court could have used that would have ensured that it heard and understood Mother’s testimony. And Mother fails to establish that testifying this way prejudiced her,” the panel ruled.

The case is In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: S.E. (Minor Child), and R.K. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services, 29A02-1312-JT-1064.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Heritage, what Heritage? The New Age is dawning .... an experiment in disordered liberty and social fragmentation is upon us .... "Carmel City Council approved a human rights ordinance with a 4-3 vote Monday night after hearing about two hours of divided public testimony. The ordinance bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, among other traits. Council members Rick Sharp, Carol Schleif, Sue Finkam and Ron Carter voted in favor of it. The three council members opposing it—Luci Snyder, Kevin Rider and Eric Seidensticker—all said they were against any form of discrimination, but had issues with the wording and possible unintended consequences of the proposal." Kardashian is the new Black.

  2. Can anyone please tell me if anyone is appealing the law that certain sex offenders can't be on school property. How is somebody supposed to watch their children's sports games or graduations, this law needs revised such as sex offenders that are on school property must have another non-offender adult with them at all times while on school property. That they must go to the event and then leave directly afterwards. This is only going to hurt the children of the offenders and the father/ son mother/ daughter vice versa relationship. Please email me and let me know if there is a group that is appealing this for reasons other than voting and religion. Thank you.

  3. Should any attorney who argues against the abortion industry, or presents arguments based upon the Founders' concept of Higher Law, (like that marriage precedes the State) have to check in with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program for a mandatory mental health review? Some think so ... that could certainly cut down on cases such as this "cluttering up" the SCOTUS docket ... use JLAP to deny all uber conservative attorneys licenses and uber conservative representation will tank. If the ends justify the means, why not?

  4. Tell them sherry Mckay told you to call, they're trying to get all the people that have been wronged and held unlawfully to sign up on this class action lawsuit.

  5. Call Young and Young aAttorneys at Law theres ones handling a class action lawsuit