Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2015 Indiana House Bill 1528 Right to Jury Trial in Child Support Enforcement

Indiana HB 1528 which will provide for the right to a jury trial in certain professional license suspension proceedings has been introduced by Representative Bruce Borders. The first section of this bill is a definition: “Professional license means a license, certificate, registration, or permit issued by a board under IC 25.”

The second section of the bill amends IC 4-21.5-5-2 by adding the right to a jury trial when an agency has revoked a person’s professional license.
(d) A person seeking judicial review of a final agency determination to revoke a professional license has the right to a jury trial. If judicial review is conducted by jury trial, the jury shall be selected and qualified in accordance with the rules governing civil actions in the courts. Failure to include a demand for a jury trial in the petition for review constitutes a waiver ofthe right to a jury trial.
(e) A person does not have the right to a jury trial if the person is seeking judicial review of:
(1) a nonfinal agency action; or
(2) an emergency suspension;
with respect to a professional license

The third section amends IC 4-21.5-5-7 which stipulates the contents that a required to be included in a petition for review by adding:
Whether the person is seeking a jury trial and specific facts to indicate that the person is entitled to a jury trial.

The fourth section of the bill amends IC 4-21.5-5-11 which stipulates the scope of evidence which may be submitted for review by adding:
(b) In a judicial review proceeding conducted as a jury trial, the jury may consider evidence of disputed facts and determine the facts de novo. However, except as provided in section 12 of this chapter, a party may not present as evidence:
(1) the testimony of a witness who did not testify during the agency action; or
(2) any other evidence not presented to the agency.
(c) In a judicial review proceeding conducted as a jury trial, the jury may consider the agency record, in whole or in part, and is permitted to give deference to agency findings.

The final sections are technical changes to other parts of the statute necessary to bring continuity with the right to a jury trial. This legislation, if adopted, will aid those parents who have had their professional licenses suspended by the Title IV-D agency for failure to pay child support under IC 31-16-12-8. It does not provide for the right to a jury trial during the revocation hearing but is instead the right to have a jury review the proceedings rather than a trial court judge. In addition to the child support enforcement actions this legislation applies to all license suspensions under Indiana Code 4-21.5.

I support this legislation because denial of a professional license, such as to practice law, can be a substantial deprivation of one’s liberty to engage in a chosen occupation. As for child support issues I feel that this may provide another opportunity for people in our communities to be exposed to the child support payment system and those affected by it. Seeing the realities may help to dispel some stereotypes and prejudices about child support payment obligors.

Representative Borders has been a good supporter of child custody and support legislation for which I have advocated. I encourage you to ask your representative to support this legislation.

Click here to see other 2015 Indiana Child Custody and Child Support Payment bills.

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