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Text messages properly admitted in custody dispute

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The Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that evidence presented during a custody modification hearing laid a sufficient foundation for the admission of text messages between the mother and father.  

Father R.B. appealed the order modifying custody visitation and support of his son B.B. with T.J. The two had joint physical and legal custody of the boy, but after R.B. intended to relocate from Kokomo to Westfield, mother T.J. sought modification based on a substantial change in circumstances. She alleged R.B. lost interest in the boy after he had another child, his use of alcohol impedes his ability to drive and care for their son, and he had cut off communication with her.

At the hearing, mother presented text messages she printed off her phone that were between her and R.B. He challenged the introduction of the text messages, which he claimed played a role in the court’s decision to modify custody. He doesn’t argue the messages weren’t exchanged between the two, but that he believed T.J. deleted certain messages in order to make her the more sympathetic figure. But R.B. never directed the court to any part he believed content was missing, nor did he try to admit evidence of deleted text messages, Judge Elaine Brown wrote in In Re The Paternity of B.B., R.B. v. T.J., 34A02-1303-JP-243.

“To the extent that he suggests that, without the purported omitted text messages, a misleading impression was created, we note that he did testify on the second day of the hearing that he believed certain text messages were not contained in the exhibit, the court heard Father’s testimony, and we cannot say that the court failed to account for such testimony,” she wrote.

“The trial court was able to listen to the testimony and evidence presented and weigh the credibility of the witnesses, including evidence regarding the parents’ communication with one another as well as evidence that Father had been recently convicted for OWI, and that Father filed a CPS report implicating Mother’s boyfriend which was unsubstantiated. The court ruled that Mother was in the best position to act as B.B.’s primary caretaker and awarded her physical custody. After review, we cannot say that the court’s findings or conclusions were clearly erroneous, and we conclude that the court did not abuse its discretion in granting Mother’s petition to modify custody.”
 

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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.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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