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Termination of rights affirmed despite error

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A trial court erred when it failed to follow Indiana Code in a termination of parental rights hearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. Because the appellate court found the error to be harmless, it affirmed the involuntary termination of a father's parental rights.

Father Daniel Bailey Sr. appealed the termination of his rights to his twins in the case In the matter of the termination of the parent-child relationship of S.B. and D.B. v. Dubois County Department of Child Services, No. 19A01-0804-JV-161. The Court of Appeals raised sua sponte one issue: whether the trial court violated I.C. Section 34-35-2-8 when after a termination hearing, it failed to terminate Bailey's parental rights or dismiss the Dubois County Department of Child Service's involuntary termination petition. Instead, the trial court postponed its pronouncement of judgment for six months to allow Bailey one final chance to prove he could make the necessary changes to care for his kids. The judge granted Bailey time to comply with a court order requiring treatment, classes, and drug testing, even though DCDCS met its burden of proof to terminate his rights. Bailey violated the order and his rights were terminated.

The appellate court examined I.C. Section 31-35-2-8, which clearly provides that a trial court shall either find the allegations in the petition to be true and terminate the parental relationship or it will find the allegations to not be true and dismiss the petition.

Because the trial court failed to comply with statute, it committed an error, wrote Judge Patricia Riley. Yet the error was harmless, the appellate court ruled and affirmed the trial court ruling.

Remanding the cause to the trial court to hold a new termination hearing would be against the twins' best interest because they have lingered in the system six months longer than they needed to while Bailey failed to follow the court order, the judge wrote.

"The twins need and deserve stability and permanency now. The current system has already been criticized for putting children in limbo too long, thereby fostering instability and unhinged relationships," she wrote. "In light of these considerations and the trial court's clear determination that the DCDCS satisfied its burden of proof on November 5, 2007 and again on February 26, 2008, we affirm the trial court's termination of Father's parental rights to the twins."

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  1. It is amazing how selectively courts can read cases and how two very similar factpatterns can result in quite different renderings. I cited this very same argument in Brown v. Bowman, lost. I guess it is panel, panel, panel when one is on appeal. Sad thing is, I had Sykes. Same argument, she went the opposite. Her Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence is now decidedly unintelligible.

  2. November, 2014, I was charged with OWI/Endangering a person. I was not given a Breathalyzer test and the arresting officer did not believe that alcohol was in any way involved. I was self-overmedicated with prescription medications. I was taken to local hospital for blood draw to be sent to State Tox Lab. My attorney gave me a cookie-cutter plea which amounts to an ALCOHOL-related charge. Totally unacceptable!! HOW can I get my TOX report from the state lab???

  3. My mother got temporary guardianship of my children in 2012. my husband and I got divorced 2015 the judge ordered me to have full custody of all my children. Does this mean the temporary guardianship is over? I'm confused because my divorce papers say I have custody and he gets visits and i get to claim the kids every year on my taxes. So just wondered since I have in black and white that I have custody if I can go get my kids from my moms and not go to jail?

  4. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  5. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

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