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Single order can have more than 1 disposition

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The Indiana Supreme Court has clarified juvenile caselaw, telling trial courts they can order a juvenile be committed to the Department of Correction and in the same order also require probation after release.

A unanimous decision came today in R.J.G. v. State of Indiana, No. 64S04-0809-JV-483, which originated in Porter Circuit's Juvenile Division and strikes at the how juvenile judges are able to craft sentences best suited for a particular child's case. R.J.G. was 15 years old in the spring of 2007 when he, after selling marijuana to a friend, pointed a loaded gun at that person. It accidentally discharged and shot that friend in the mouth. Police later recovered drugs and paraphernalia at his home, and he eventually pleaded guilty to felony criminal recklessness and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Juvenile Judge Mary Harper concluded that he should be committed to the Indiana Boys School until age 18, followed by supervised probation that included counseling and community service until age 21. The juvenile appealed, arguing the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to order both his DOC commitment and probation in the same order. The Court of Appeals affirmed that decision last year and held the juvenile court did have jurisdiction to order probation following commitment, despite its earlier decision in J.J.M. v. State, 779 N.E.2d 602, 607 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002). 

In J.J.M., the appellate panel decided that a juvenile court loses jurisdiction after ordering guardianship of a child to the DOC and it's not able to order probation on top of commitment.

"We think J.J.M. was incorrect on this point," Justice Ted Boehm wrote in this R.J.G ruling, finding that Indiana Code § 31-37-19-5 and 6 give juvenile courts the ability to order at least one disposition, potentially more. "Nothing prevents this from being accomplished in the same order. And there is no jurisdictional bar to ordering more than one disposition in the same order."

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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