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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 opinion(s) today (and 1 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (2):

In In Re: the Adoption of S.O., A.O., and N.O., P.P. v. A.O., a 13-page opinion, Judge Baker writes:

P.P. (Biological Mother) appeals the judgment of the trial court, which granted an adoption petition over her objection. In an attempt to hasten the adoption process, the trial court dispensed with the statutorily required criminal background check, and did not consolidate a pending paternity action with the adoption proceeding. Reminded of the maxim, “Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast,” we reverse and remand with instructions to correct these errors. * * *

We must pause our analysis to note a glaring deficiency in the instant case: we can find no mention in the record of any involvement of any licensed child placing agency or any Department of Child Services (DCS) office. Our General Assembly has required that every adoption case—whether done by stepparent, blood relative, or a nonrelative—involve either a licensed child placing agency or DCS. In general, every petitioner must have such an agency complete the period of supervision along with a report. I.C. § 31-19-8-1. Although the supervisory period and report can be waived for stepparents or grandparents, I.C. § 31-19-8-5(c), exercising that waiver then obligates the court to order an agency to conduct a criminal history check and complete a report. I.C. § 31-19-8-5(d). In sum, the absence of any child placing agency or DCS in this case means an error has occurred.

In Ricky E. Arion v. State of Indiana, a 14-page opinion, Judge Baker writes:
Ricky Arion appeals the trial court’s denial of his motion for discharge. Arion was serving a prison sentence for unrelated convictions when he was served with a warrant informing him of the present charges. He requested a speedy trial on multiple occasions, but the State made no attempt to try him for well over a year. The State now contends that because one of its officers failed to return the warrant to the trial court after serving it upon Arion, it was absolved of its responsibility to bring Arion to trial in a timely fashion in accordance with Indiana Criminal Rule 4. The State’s position is contrary to both the text and the purpose of the rule, which places an “imperative duty upon the state and its officers, the trial courts and prosecuting attorneys.” Zehrlaut v. State, 230 Ind. 175, 183-84, 102 N.E.2d 203, 207 (1951). Because we find that the delay in bringing Arion to trial was unjustifiable and that it exceeded the length of time allowable under Indiana Criminal Rules 4(B) and 4(C), we reverse and remand with instructions to dismiss the charges. * * *

We acknowledge that this case presents a factual scenario with which we have apparently not dealt before. Accordingly, we think it wise to confine our holding to the facts presented by this case and avoid making unnecessarily broad pronouncements. That being said, here we are certain that the clock began ticking for purposes of Rules 4(B) and 4(C) at the very least by January 27, 2014—that being the date that Arion filed his motion to reconsider that included a copy of the warrant and was properly filed in the trial court and served upon the State—as after that date the trial court and the State should have been aware that Arion was being held on the charges and was requesting a speedy trial. Well over a year passed from that time, during which Arion caused no delay, but was not brought to trial, until the time at which he filed a motion for discharge on July 10, 2015. Consequently, the trial court erred in denying that motion.

NFP civil decisions today (0):

NFP criminal decisions today (1):

Tracy Hertel v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 22, 2016 10:57 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions