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Published Law Review Note Argues for Juvenile Jury Trial Right

Riley Parr, a law student at the IU McKinney School of Law and law clerk for Randall Parr, wrote in a Note published by the Indiana Law Review that juveniles should have the right to jury trials when they face juvenile adjudications–that is, when they face the equivalent of criminal charges in juvenile court.

Juveniles do not currently have the right to a jury trial, though they do have nearly all of the other constitutional rights of adults accused of crimes: Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures; Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination; Sixth Amendment rights to counsel, confrontation, and cross-examination. The State must also prove the juvenile committed the act beyond a reasonable doubt.

But, according to the Indiana Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, juveniles do not have the right to a jury trial.

Arguing that the juvenile justice system is now essentially equivalent to the adult criminal justice system, Parr reasons that under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment Due Process Clause and the Sixth Amendment, juveniles should have the right to a jury trial. He also opines that juveniles are entitled to this right under the civil jury trial trial provided by Article 1, Section 20 of the Indiana Constitution .

You can read his entire Note here: https://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/ilr/pdf/vol52p105.pdf

Indiana Supreme Court Concludes Juvenile Should Have Been Mirandized

Rush, Chief Justice.

The vital mission of educating our youth requires schools to daily provide safety, security, and student discipline. In recent decades, schools have turned to resource officers for help. These officers protect students and staff, offer mentorship—and, yes, help with discipline and criminal investigations. As their presence has grown, so too have questions of students’ constitutional rights. Today we address for the first time one of those questions: when are students entitled to Miranda warnings at school?
Here, in response to a bomb threat on a bathroom wall, thirteen-year old B.A. was escorted from his bus and questioned in a vice-principal’s office. Officers hovered over B.A. and encouraged him to confess, but no one gave him Miranda warnings.
We hold that B.A. was in police custody and under police interrogation, so he should have been Mirandized. We therefore reverse his delinquency adjudications.

Facts and Procedural History

Scribbled in pink marker in a Decatur Middle School boys’ bathroom came the threat: “I will Got A bomb in the school Monday 8th 2016 not a Joke.” School Resource Officer Tutsie “immediately went into investigative mode” and soon narrowed the suspects to two students—including thirteen-year-old B.A. The next Monday, February 8, 2016, school resource officers and administrators walked through the school and found it safe. Then, when B.A.’s bus arrived, Vice-Principal Remaly and School Resource Officer
Lyday removed B.A. from his bus and escorted him to Remaly’s office. B.A. sat in front of Remaly’s desk while Officer Lyday stood a few feet away. Early in B.A.’s interview, Officer Tutsie came in and took Officer Lyday’s spot while Officer Lyday moved to sit at a conference table behind B.A. Around that same time, a third school resource officer Officer Wheeler—came in and sat at the conference table. All three officers wore police uniforms.

Read the entire opinion here.

Randall Parr handles juvenile and CHINS cases throughout Indiana.  Contact him here.

Supreme Court Decides Voting Case

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) addresses the removal of
ineligible voters from state voting rolls, 52 U. S. C. §20501(b), including
those who are ineligible “by reason of” a change in residence,
§20507(a)(4).

The Act prescribes requirements that a State must
meet in order to remove a name on change-of-residence grounds,
§§20507(b), (c), (d). The most relevant of these are found in subsection
(d), which provides that a State may not remove a name on
change-of-residence grounds unless the registrant either (A) confirms
in writing that he or she has moved or (B) fails to return a preaddressed,
postage prepaid “return card” containing statutorily prescribed
content and then fails to vote in any election during the period
covering the next two general federal elections.

In addition to these specific change-of-residence requirements, the
NVRA also contains a general “Failure-to-Vote Clause,” §20507(b)(2),
consisting of two parts. It first provides that a state removal program
“shall not result in the removal of the name of any person
. . . by reason of the person’s failure to vote.” Second, as added by
the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), it specifies that “nothing
in [this prohibition] may be construed to prohibit a State from using
the procedures” described above—sending a return card and removing
registrants who fail to return the card and fail to vote for the requisite
time . . . .

Read the entire opinion here.

Randall Parr is an Indianapolis attorney.  He handles a variety of legal matters, including constitutional issues.  Contact him today.

Criminal Contempt Inappropriate for Defendant Who Violated Bail

Case Summary

While criminal charges against Cameron Hunter (“Hunter”) were pending, the
State alleged that Hunter had contemptuously violated a condition of his bail.
Following a hearing, the trial court entered a contempt finding and imposed a
sanction of 180 days in jail. Hunter presents two issues on appeal, which we
consolidate and restate as whether the court abused its discretion by imposing a
criminal contempt sanction upon the violation of a condition of bail.

We reverse.

Facts and Procedural History

Hunter was released on bail during the pendency of criminal charges against
him. Hunter and the State eventually reached a plea agreement, and the trial
court scheduled the matter for hearing. At the hearing, Hunter sought to
postpone consideration of the plea in order to determine whether he was
eligible for community corrections. The State then orally sought a modification
of the conditions of Hunter’s bail, to which Hunter’s counsel agreed. The court
continued the hearing and orally modified the conditions of Hunter’s bail,
specifying that Hunter was not to contact or “be around anyone under the age
of 18.” Tr. Vol. II at 10. Hunter confirmed that he had no questions about the
trial court’s oral pronouncement. Hunter then left the courthouse and entered a
vehicle that contained the three people he rode with to the hearing: his
girlfriend, his fifteen-year-old sister, and a sixteen-year-old female.

Read the entire opinion here.

Randall Parr is an Indianapolis criminal defense attorney.  Contact him here.

No Constitutional Error in Criminal Defense Case

Steven Wade Childress appeals his conviction for level 3 felony armed robbery. He argues that the trial court clearly erred in rejecting his claim, commonly known as a Batson claim, that the prosecutor’s peremptory challenge to a potential juror was improperly based on the juror’s race. Finding no error, we affirm.

In October 2015, Childress and Demerio Strong went to a party at T.B.’s house. Childress and Strong discussed committing a robbery. T.B. texted Darren Sloss that his cousin was at her house and he should come over. Sloss drove to T.B.’s and parked behind her house. When Sloss went in the house, he did not see his cousin and decided to leave. He exited the house and was attacked outside by Childress and Strong. Strong held a gun to the back of his head and forced him to the ground. Childress and Strong asked him for money. While he was on the ground, Sloss saw Childress rummaging around his car. Sloss was kicked, punched, and pistol-whipped. Some of his clothing was ripped off. Several women came outside, prompting Childress and Strong to run away. Sloss walked to a hospital and reported the robbery. Police found his clothes and wallet behind T.B.’s house, but the money in his wallet, about $200, was gone.

Read the whole opinion here.

Randall Parr is an Indianapolis criminal defense attorney. Contact him today.

CHINS Decision Reversed, Lack of Evidence Showing Child Needed Services

Mother is the sole adoptive parent of Child, who was born on November 13,  2006. On February 3, 2017, Detective Joshua Morgan, an officer with the behavioral health unit of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (“IMPD”), and Tammy Johnson, a mobile crisis specialist with Eskenazi Hospital, went to a hotel room where Mother and Child were living.

Detective Morgan had been alerted by someone that Mother might be in crisis, and so he had contacted her by telephone to see whether she needed any help. Mother initially denied needing help, but she proceeded to leave Detective Morgan twenty-five voice mails over the following two days, which led Detective Morgan and Johnson to make the in-person visit.   When Detective Morgan and Johnson arrived at the hotel room, Child was at school, and Mother was packing their things to move to another hotel. Mother stated that they were “no longer welcome” at that hotel. Tr. at 10.

Mother also stated that she “was hearing voices through the TV from a former employer[.]  [S]he couldn’t really make out what the voices were saying to her, but that they were following her wherever she was going.” . . .

The trial court held a dispositional hearing on June 22. This appeal ensued.

Read the entire opinion here.

Randall Parr is an Indianapolis attorney. He has handled many DCS, CPS, and CHINS cases.  If you face DCS allegations, contact Randall Parr immediately to protect yourself and your family.

Termination of Parental Rights Reversed

Statement of the Case

E.B. (“Mother”) appeals the termination of the parental relationship with her children, A.A.D. (“A.A.D.”) and A.C.D. (“A.C.D.”).
The gravamen of her argument is that reversible error occurred when the trial court failed to ensure the appointment of a court-appointed special advocate (“CASA”) to represent the interests of her children in the termination hearing as required by INDIANA
CODE § 31-35-2-7. Because Mother is correct, we reverse and remand with instructions for the trial court to ensure the appointment of a CASA.  We reverse and remand with instructions.

Issue

The dispositive issue is whether reversible error occurred when the trial court failed to ensure the appointment of a CASA to
represent the interests of Mother’s two children.

Facts

Mother and Father are the parents of A.A.D., who was born in March 2009, and A.C.D., who was born in August 2015. When A.C.D. was born, his meconium tested positive for marijuana. He was also suffering withdrawal symptoms from Suboxone, which Mother had taken while she was pregnant. The Department of Child Services (“DCS”) removed six-year-old A.A.D. and A.C.D. from their parents, and both children were adjudicated to be Children in Need of Services (“CHINS”). In October 2015, the trial court ordered Mother to participate in substance abuse treatment, home-based case management services, and individual therapy. Mother was also ordered to remain drug and alcohol free and to maintain stable housing and employment to meet the needs of her family.

Read the entire opinion here.

Randall Parr is an Indianapolis attorney.  He represents families and individuals who are faced with possible Termination of Parental Rights and CHINS (Child in Need of Services) actions initiated by the Department of Child Services.  Contact him here. 

Juvenile Intentionally Skips Hearing, But No Constitutional Violation

When R.R., a seventeen-year-old juvenile, did not appear for the combined factfinding hearings in his juvenile delinquency and probation violation cases, the trial court held the hearings in his absence and found that he committed the charged offenses and violated his probation.

R.R. now appeals, arguing that he had a constitutional right to be present at the hearings and that the trial court violated that right by holding them in his absence. The State argues that R.R. waived any such right by refusing to appear. In response, R.R. argues that under the juvenile waiver statute, Indiana Code Section 31-32-5-1, he could not validly waive that right because he was not emancipated.

We hold that although juveniles have a constitutional right to be present at fact-finding hearings in delinquency and probation proceedings, the trial court had the authority to find R.R. to be in a position of procedural default under the particular facts of this case, where R.R. knowingly and intentionally refused to appear. The legislature would not have intended for the juvenile waiver statute to allow nearly emancipated young adults to ignore trial court orders and thwart the operation of the juvenile justice system by intentionally refusing to appear at dispositional hearings.

Therefore, we affirm.

Read the whole opinion here.

Randall Parr is an Indianapolis juvenile lawyer.  Contact him here.

Probation Prohibition on Possession of Firearms Constitutional

Wilder maintains that the condition of probation that prohibits him from possessing firearms during his probation period violates his right to bear arms, as protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 32 of the Indiana Constitution. Probation is a criminal sanction wherein a convicted defendant specifically agrees to accept  conditions upon his behavior in lieu of imprisonment . . .

Purpose to Be Served by Probation Condition

The crime Wilder committed—battery resulting in bodily injury—was, by definition, a crime of violence. I.C. § 35-42-2-1(d)(1). The probation condition at issue here is meant to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of those who have shown a propensity for violence, and that is a legitimate and important government purpose . . . The fact that Wilder’s violent crime did not involve use of a firearm is not dispositive; it is the propensity of the probationer toward violence that is relevant to the need to prohibit possession of dangerous weapons such as firearms.  The legitimate and important purpose of the probation condition prohibiting possession of firearms, as applied to Wilder, is to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of a probationer whose underlying crime has shown he has a propensity toward violence resulting in harm to others.

Read the full opinion here.

Randall Parr is an attorney in Indianapolis.  If you have been charged with a gun offense, contact him immediately.

Drugs, Substance Abuse Lead to DCS Involvement, Termination of Parental Rights

Facts

K.S. was born on November 11, 2012, to Father and C.B. (Mother). Father and Mother were not married, and Mother was the custodial parent. Prior to 2012, Father had a substance abuse problem; sometime during 2012, he was incarcerated for six months for attempted theft. After his release, he did not visit K.S., per Mother’s request. On March 4, 2015, the Department of Child Services (DCS) filed a petition alleging that K.S. was a child in need of services (CHINS) after Mother gave birth to a drug-positive baby. DCS removed K.S. from Mother’s care and placed her with a relative.

She was not placed with Father because he had recently tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana. At the time, Father had little to no relationship with K.S. The trial court ordered that Father have supervised parenting time with K.S. On March 25, 2015, Father admitted that K.S. was a CHINS because he needed to learn how to provide K.S. with a home environment free of substance abuse issues. The trial court found a sufficient factual basis to find K.S. to be a CHINS.

A dispositional hearing took place the same day, during which the trial court ordered Father to participate in home based therapy and home based case management, complete a substance abuse assessment, submit to random drug screens, and follow all recommendations of service providers. On May 1, 2015, K.S. was placed in foster care. A review hearing took place on June 17, 2015. DCS reported that Father had completed one drug screen, which was clean, was not engaged in services, and was participating in parenting time.

K.S.’s foster mother said that K.S. exhibited negative behaviors after Father’s visits. Father stated that he missed his substance abuse assessment because of his work schedule; that he has stable housing and employment and that home based case management may not be necessary for him; and that he was willing to engage in home based therapy. Father requested unsupervised parenting time so that he could work toward a temporary trial visit for K.S. The trial court ordered that Father could have unsupervised parenting time upon completion of five consecutive clean drug
screens . . .

Read the full opinion here.

Randall Parr is an Indianapolis attorney.  If DCS or CPS is involved with your family, contact DCS defense attorney Randall Parr today.