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SCOTUS refuses to accept two Indiana cases

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The nation’s highest court has refused to take two Indiana cases, including the high-profile abuse and neglect case of 3-year-old TaJanay Bailey that revealed fatal flaws in the state’s child welfare system.

An order list issued today by the Supreme Court of the United States listed dozens of cases that the justices considered in a private conference late last week. Two from Indiana were listed: the state criminal appeal of Charity E. Bailey v. Indiana, No. 10-74847, and a habeas corpus petition in Russell W. Roach v. Jeff Wrigley, Superintendent, New Castle Correctional Facility, No. 10-639.

The Bailey case stems from the November 2007 killing of TaJanay Bailey, later identified in court documents only as T.B. The child was a ward of the state Department of Child Services and had a history of neglect and placement in foster care homes when she was temporarily returned to her mother. In less than three months she was fatally beaten to death by her mother’s live-in boyfriend. He pled guilty and received a 65-year sentence. Marion Superior Judge Kurt Eisgruber in May 2009 sentenced Charity Bailey to 35 years on a plea agreement for felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death and three felony counts of neglect of a dependent.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that judgment in March 2010, writing that the record reflected that “Bailey is a self-absorbed and self-focused individual, and we cannot say that the 35-year sentence, which was an enhancement of only five years above the advisory sentence for a class A felony, was inappropriate.”

 She asked the Indiana Supreme Court to weigh in, but in June the justices denied transfer. In November, Bailey filed a writ of certiorari with the SCOTUS. The Indiana Attorney General’s Office waived its right to respond, and the justices ultimately rejected Bailey’s petition on Friday.

Bailey is currently in the Indiana Women’s Prison and is eligible for release in March 2025, according to the state Department of Corrections offender database online.

The SCOTUS also declined to hear the Roach appeal.

Last year, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a habeas corpus petition denial by U.S. Chief Judge Richard L. Young in the Southern District of Indiana. Roach was convicted of murder in 1995 and the state courts have since upheld his sentences and denied any post-conviction relief. This paved the way for Roach’s federal claim alleging ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal, evidence insufficiency on his intent to kill, evidence and witness inadequacies at trial, and the lack of appellate review.

In December 2009, Chief Judge Young ordered that Roach wasn’t entitled to any relief, and the 7th Circuit upheld that decision in July by denying a request for a certificate of appealability. He filed a writ of certiorari in November and the state waived its right to respond before the SCOTUS denied the case on Friday.

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  1. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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