Statute doesn't authorize dismissal of charges

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Even if the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded the trial court violated statute by failing to set a juvenile delinquency hearing within the 60-day time limit, the appellate court doesn't believe the statute authorizes dismissal of the charges as the defendant argues.

In J.D. v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-0901-JV-40, J.D. argued under Indiana Code Section 31-37-11-2(b), his charges for committing what would have been Class D felony theft and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief if committed by an adult should have been dismissed because his hearing wasn't set until after a 60-day timeframe within the statute.

Section 2(b) says if a child is not in detention and a petition has been filed, a hearing must be commenced not later than 60 days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, after the petition is filed.

After the state filed the petition Aug. 11, 2008, that J.D. was a delinquent child, he was released to his parents on supervised home release. He was later placed with the Indiana Department of Correction in another cause. At a Sept. 8 conference, a denial hearing was scheduled for Dec. 2; J.D. didn't object to the date, which was more than 60 days after the petition was filed.

The Court of Appeals compared Section 2(b) to the speedy-trial provisions of Indiana Criminal Rule 4(C), using caselaw on the rule to help interpret the subsection. Because J.D. didn't object to the hearing set outside a 60-day time limit, he waived his rights under Indiana Code Section 31-37-11-2(b), the appellate court determined.

Even if he didn't waive his rights, it isn't clear under the statute that a dismissal would be warranted. The only section of Indiana Code Chapter 31-37-11 that calls for discharge is Section 9, which isn't applicable in the instant case. Section 7 says if the court fails to meet the applicable time limits, a child in detention will be released to a parent or guardian.

But when a child isn't in detention, Section 7 is silent. However, that doesn't mean a violation of 2(b) requires outright dismissal.

"To the contrary, we fail to see why dismissal would be inappropriate for a child who is in detention, but somehow appropriate for a child who is not," wrote Judge Paul Mathias. "Without clear statutory authorization, we cannot say that a violation of the sixty-day limit of Section 2(b) required the trial court to dismiss the allegations that J.D. was a delinquent child."


Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  2. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.

  3. maybe if some of the socia workers would treat the foster parents better, they would continue to fostr.

  4. We have been asked to take in a 2 no old baby because mother is in very unstable situation. We want to do this but will need help with expenses such as medical and formula... Do we have to have custody thru court?

  5. Very troubling. A competent public defender is very much the right of every indigent person in the US or the Fifth amendment becomes meaningless. And considering more and more of us are becoming poorer and poorer under this "system," the need for this are greater than ever.... maybe they should study the Federals and see how they manage their program? And here's to thanking all the PD attorneys out there who do a good job.