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Friday, June 24, 2011

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 10 NFP)

For publication opinions today (1):

In Involuntary Commitment of S.S., a 6-page opinion, Judge Kirsch writes:

S.S. appeals from the trial court’s order for her temporary commitment. Although S.S.’s commitment has already expired, she raises the following consolidated and restated issue for our review: whether the trial court lacked jurisdiction to preside over her commitment proceedings because the report following her emergency detention was filed after the period of her detention had ended, resulting in a violation of her due process rights from the ensuing infringement of her liberty interests. We affirm. * * *

We note that S.S. has failed to cite to any statutory authority for her contention that the timely filing of the report is a jurisdictional prerequisite. Indeed, there are strong reasons why the timely filing of the report is not jurisdictional. Should the trial court lose jurisdiction over the case, the detained person would be deprived of a forum in which to seek an order of release.

As for due process concerns, vis-à-vis S.S.’s liberty interests, Wishard’s failure to comply with the statutory time frame was de minimis with no resulting harm to S.S. Had the report been filed at the last moment prior to the end of S.S.’s detention period, she likewise would have had an extended period of detention during the statutorily-created, twenty-four-hour time frame in which the trial court must consider the report and act. Indiana Code section 12-26-2-1 provides that the right of a person to apply to an appropriate court for a writ of habeas corpus is not limited or restricted. Thus, a remedy for unlawful custody is available. However, in this situation, such an application would likely have been denied.

The report stated that S.S. was mentally ill and gravely disabled, thus S.S. was not entitled to be released. S.S. does not dispute the contents of the report. The probate court acted in a timely fashion upon receipt of the report, set the matter for hearing, and entered its order of temporary commitment within the time frame established by statute. Thus, there was no prejudice to S.S. As previously stated, we acknowledge the extreme importance and constitutional dimension of the liberty interests of detained persons, but also acknowledge that those interests must be balanced by consideration of the safety interests of the detained person and society

NFP civil opinions today (3):

In Joseph A. Taylor v. Mitch Daniels, et al. (NFP), a 5-page opinion brought by a pro se appellant, Judge Barnes writes:

Joseph Taylor appeals the trial court’s denial of his amended complaint. We reverse. * * *

Taylor argues that the trial court improperly denied his amended complaint. As an initial matter we observe that Taylor is proceeding pro se. As we have noted many times before, litigants who choose to proceed pro se will be held to the same rules of procedure as trained legal counsel and must be prepared to accept the consequences of their action. We also observe that Attorney General Zoeller gave his notice of non-involvement and has not filed an appellee’s brief on behalf of the Defendants. Under these circumstances, we do not undertake to develop an argument on the behalf of the Defendants, but rather may reverse upon Taylor’s prima facie showing of reversible error. In this context, “prima facie” is defined as at first sight, on first appearance, or on the face it. [cites omitted] * * *

In the absence of arguments by the Defendants as to why Taylor was not entitled to amend his complaint as a matter of course or why the amended complaint was subject to dismissal, Taylor has made a showing of prima facie error. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s denial of Taylor’s amended complaint.

Robert A. Hutchens v. BAC Home Loans Servicing (NFP)

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of Dam.T., et al.; K.T. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (7):

Lee Kershaw v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Fernando B. Eguia, Sr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Timothy L. Woods v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Elijah Roberson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Terry Allen Wagster v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Jomisha Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Aaron Shields v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 24, 2011 01:03 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions