Justices order COA to reconsider dismissed termination appeals

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In light of a September ruling in which the Indiana Supreme Court held it had jurisdiction to entertain a biological father’s appeal of an adoption, the justices granted transfer and ordered the Court of Appeals to reconsider two cases.

The justices unanimously sent In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: L.H. (Minor Child); L.P. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services, 01S02-1410-JT-652; and In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: M.R. (Minor Child); J.R. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services, 38S02-1410-JT-653, back to the lower appeals court for reconsideration. According to the transfer action list, the COA had dismissed the appeals in these cases.

The high court cited In the Matter of the Adoption of O.R., N.R. v. K.G. and C.G., 21S01-1409-AD-592, in which the justices decided the untimely filing of a notice of appeal is not a jurisdictional defect depriving the appellate courts of the ability to entertain an appeal.

The justices also accept Gary Sistrunk v. State of Indiana, 49S05-1410-CR-654, a not-for-publication decision in which the COA was divided over whether Gary Sistrunk’s criminal confinement conviction should be reduced from a Class B felony or vacated entirely. The court couldn’t agree whether a felony robbery and the felony confinement charges were separate criminal transgressions.

The justices denied transfer to 23 other cases for the week ending Oct. 24.


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