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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court appoints special judge in Justice v. Justice case [Updated]

The Supreme Court late this afternoon filed this order appointing a special judge in the case of Christopher Justice v. Shirley Justice.

For background, see this Indianapolis Star story from this morning, reported by Jill Disis, headed "Police seek ex-husband in shooting outside day care." Some quotes from the long story:

The custody case came to a head in September 2012 when the Department of Child Services started investigating a possible neglect and abuse case involving the couple's daughter while she was in the mother's care.

Four months later, after the DCS investigation concluded, Christopher Justice was awarded temporary custody of his daughter. He'd soon try to make it permanent.

After more than a year of court appearances and DCS investigations, Christopher Justice appeared to get his wish.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Patrick McCarty issued an order Feb. 10 handing sole custody of the child to Christopher Justice. The judge cited the DCS investigation that not only found evidence the child was abused by her mother and another unknown person, but also that Shirley Justice had made up accusations that her ex-husband has abused the child.

Psychological testing revealed Shirley Justice "appears to be suffering from serious untreated psychological issues and may be suffering from deficiencies in reality testing, judgment, emotional control and interpersonal relationships," according to the custody order.

Despite the order, the battle for custody continued.

Shirley Justice challenged Judge McCarty's decision to hand custody to her ex-husband. She filed a request that he be removed from the case, claiming he took too long to make his decision. That order was granted the same day McCarty's custody order was filed in Marion County Superior Court, though both sides disagreed over what that meant for the child's custody status.

The case continued to drag on — even as Christopher Justice was allegedly shooting his ex-wife outside the day care center.

According to the motion filed Tuesday by Christopher Justice's attorney, Jennifer Bays Beinart, Shirley Justice had refused to acknowledge the new court custody order.

After Christopher Justice dropped the child off at his ex-wife's house last Friday for visitation, she refused to return her.

"This is a child who has been the subject of a (Child In Need of Services investigation) who we believe to be in grave, serious, physical danger with this woman," Beinart told The Indianapolis Star by phone Tuesday.

Paul Ogden had a post about this case this morning.

[More] For background, see this Nov. 18, 2011 post headed "Ind. Courts - 'Lazy judge' rule changed, effective Jan. 1st." See also this April 2, 2011 post quoting a Bloomington Herald-Times story headed "What happens when cases get bogged down in court? ‘Lazy judge motions’ have been filed 11 times in Monroe since 2000."

[Updated] Something that is not clear to me from the Court's order is whether it voids Judge McCarty's order by virtue of withdrawing his jurisdiction.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 19, 2014 05:27 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions