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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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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. 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.

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