Juvenile delinquency appeals should be added to expedited appeals listed in Indiana Appellate Procedure Rule 21. Currently, every type of case involving children — child custody, child support, visitation, adoption, paternity, CHINS, and termination of parental rights — is entitled to expedited consideration by the Indiana Court of Appeals, except juvenile delinquency cases.
The current procedure results in many, many cases where the child’s disposition (sentence) has been completed before the Court of Appeals rules on the appellate issue. It can take up to 165 days for the appellate record to be ready to be reviewed. After the record is complete, there are no stated timeframes for when the Court of Appeals must complete their review of the record and issue a decision. Consider the timeframes:
- The court reporter has ninety days to prepare and file the transcript. Ind. App. Proc. R. 11.
- The appellant’s brief (the juvenile asking for the court to review the case) is due thirty days after the transcript is complete. Ind. App. Proc. R. 45(1).
- The appellee’s brief (the State) is due thirty days after service of the appellant’s brief. Ind. App. Proc. R. 45(2).
- The appellant’s reply brief to the State’s brief is due fifteen days after service of the appellee’s brief. Ind. App. Proc. R. 45(4).
Illinois recently enacted an expedited appeal rule for juvenile delinquency cases to solve exactly this problem.
To have meaningful access to appellate review, Indiana must follow Illinois’ lead and enact a similar expedited appeal rule.