ILNews

U.S. District Court dismisses 14-year consent decree

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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Nearly 15 years after a consent decree was ordered by the U.S. District Court Southern District in the case B.M., et al. v. James W. Payne, et al., the court today dismissed the decree.

The case was originally filed by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in 1989 on behalf of the wards of Marion County and their parents because of child welfare workers' alleged failure to adequately provide services for families and children.

Before the case made it to trial in 1992, Judge William Steckler entered a consent decree with two key points - specific lower ratios of children to case workers and certain standards for case workers' training. The consent decree lasted 14 years because of the state's inability to comply with the elements of the decree.

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Tinder heard testimony from both sides of the case as to why the decree should be dismissed.

Kenneth Falk, ACLU-IN legal director representing the plaintiffs, said the system is not perfect, but the state is working to fix the problems. Steps the state has taken include the creation of the Indiana Department of Child Services and legislative funding and a law to maintain the low ratio of children to case workers, which will take affect next year.

"Since March 2005, the caseload standards have been constantly complied with," Falk said.

Judge Tinder, after hearing both sides of the testimony, said dismissal of the consent decree was fair, reasonable, and adequate.

"There is overriding public interest in settling. The funds (used for litigation) can be used for more important purposes," he said.
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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

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  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

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