Prosecutors Face Uphill Battle After Court Ruling

Kristine Barnett
Kristine Barnett

The Indiana Supreme Court upheld Attorney Mark Nicholson’s motion to dismiss the neglect charges against Kristine Barnett

The saga may be coming to an end on the Ukrainian Adoption case. The Tippecanoe County prosecutors now face an uphill challenge to the neglect of a dependent charges against Kristine Barnett. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the trial court granting Attorney Mark Nicholson’s motion to dismiss the charges.

The Indiana Supreme Court let stand an Appeals Court ruling last week, affirming that the charges must be dismissed against Kristine Barnett if the allegations rely on the daughter’s age she adopted, Natalia Barnett, as the basis for the charges. That’s because a Marion County court changed Natalia’s birth year after Kristine and her then-husband petitioned for the change in 2012.

Changing Natalia’s birth year makes her — in the eyes of the courts and for purposes of prosecution — an adult when prosecutors accused Michael and Kristine Barnett of neglecting a child.  This is the same legal conclusion reached by Tippecanoe Superior 2 Judge Steve Meyer in his rulings in August 2020. Additionally, Meyer ruled that allegations that happened before 2014 must be dismissed because the statute of limitations expired before charges were filed.

The Appeals Court affirmed both of Meyer’s rulings in August 2021, but prosecutors requested the Attorney General’s Office petition the Supreme Court, which it did; the Supreme Court decided on Jan. 6 not to take the case.

Attorney Nicholson believes the court got it right and hopes this will end the adult baby case.

To read more about this, please visit Lafayette Journal & Courier.

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