Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Indiana

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Under Indiana Code section 31-25-2-5, no family case manager at the Indiana Department of Child Services can oversee more than 17 children at a time who are receiving services. The statute does not require the Department to perform any specific, ministerial acts for achieving that number. Price, a family case manager, filed a proposed class action. She alleged that her caseload was 43 children and sought an “order mandating or enjoining [D]efendants to take all necessary steps to comply with [Section 5].” The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Price’s claim prior to class certification. Judicial mandate is an extraordinary remedy—available only when the law imposes a clear duty upon a defendant to perform a specific, ministerial act and the plaintiff is clearly entitled to that relief. The statute at issue does not impose a specific, ministerial duty. View "Price v. Indiana Department of Child Services; Director of Indiana Department of Child Services" on Justia Law

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D.A. filed a petition for the expungement of several criminal conviction records. The trial court granted the petition and ordered the expungement of certain records related to D.A.’s convictions. Thereafter, Petitioner filed a second petition asking for the expungement of civil forfeiture records. The trial court denied the petition, concluding that the expungment statutes apply to arrests and criminal convictions but not to civil forfeitures. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of D.A. second expungement petition, holding that Indiana’s expungement statutes do not reach civil forfeiture records. View "D.A. v. State" on Justia Law

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The Energy and Policy Institute made three separate requests to Indiana House Representative Eric Koch under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act (APRA) seeking copies of Koch’s correspondence with various business organizations in relation to specific legislation. The Chief Counsel of the Republic Caucus denied each of these requests. Plaintiffs subsequently filed a complaint against Koch and the Indiana House Republic Caucus seeking a declaratory judgment that APRA was applicable to Defendants and that Defendants violated APRA by denying some or all of Plaintiffs’ requests. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for lack of justiciability and, alternatively, for failure to state claim, arguing that Plaintiffs’ requests would interfere with the internal workings of the legislature and should be found non-justiciable on those grounds. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the question of whether the APRA is generally applicable to the legislature is justiciable, and the APRA does apply to the General Assembly; but (2) the question of whether the APRA requests at issue in this case are exempt from disclosure as legislative “work product” is non-justiciable. View "Citizens Action Coalition of Ind. v. Koch" on Justia Law