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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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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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