Juvenile’s petition over extended house arrest without hearing splits Supreme Court

Indiana Supreme Court justices split 3-2 in declining to hear further argument from a Lake County juvenile whose house arrest was extended without a hearing being held on the matter.

In K.P. v. State of Indiana, 20A-JV-1431 Indiana Supreme Court Justices Mark Massa, Geoffrey Slaughter and Christopher Goff agreed to reject a petition to transfer the juvenile’s case.

Issues for K.P. began in this case when he was found delinquent for committing auto theft and resisting law enforcement, Level 6 felonies if committed by an adult. He was sentenced to six months of house arrest, later extended by the trial court with his mother’s permission after K.P. committed further violations.

However, the trial court ordered the extension without holding a hearing. K.P. was alleged to commit further violations of his probation, culminating in his ultimate detention in the Lake County Juvenile Center.

Dissenting from the majority in a separate opinion, Justice Steven David argued that under Indiana Code section 31-37-22- 3(b), if the motion seeking modification of the dispositional decree is not an emergency, the “probation officer shall give notice to the persons affected and the juvenile court shall hold a hearing on the question.”

“Here, the probation officer gave notice of the request to extend K.P.’s house arrest but no hearing was held. Our Court of Appeals disposed of this issue in just a few sentences noting the mother’s agreement to the extension and K.P.’s failure to appeal. But the statute is clear that a hearing shall be held,” David wrote in dissent, joined by Chief Justice Loretta Rush.

“It provides no language including exceptions or qualifiers. Every juvenile in K.P.’s shoes is entitled to a hearing. I also note that K.P. did not have counsel and suffers from a borderline intellectual disability. As such, the expectation that he would know to challenge the trial court’s order is just not reasonable,” the dissenting justice continued.

“K.P. and all juveniles deserve that the law be followed. Even though I note that K.P. has now been released to his mother’s custody, I would grant transfer to make clear that the trial court should have held a hearing as required by the statute and I would remand to the trial court to vacate the January 21, 2020 order extending K.P.’s house arrest.”

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