A Hendricks County judge is standing his ground reiterating that Indiana Department of Child Services director Eric Miller, not another representative as requested by Indiana DCS, is tasked with proving why his department should not be held in contempt of court for failing to obey a court order to produce documents related to the torture-death of a 4-year-old LaPorte County boy.
Indiana DCS was recently accused of failing to provide documentation for the death of Judah Morgan. The 4-year-old, who was murdered in LaPorte County October 11, 2021, by his biological parents, had been in the care of DCS since his birth. Judah had been placed with his biological parents for the first time just six months prior to his murder. He was raised in a kinship placement arrangement with his second cousin, Jenna Hullett's family.
Not only were Judah's biological parents in the DCS system with Judah, they also had cases on his two other siblings, where known abuse was confirmed. In the years leading up to Judah's death, Hullett said she tried to alert DCS of ongoing abuse. After Judah was placed on what was supposed to be a six-month home trial with his biological parents, Alan Morgan and Mary Yoder, DCS was alerted about violations made, but Hullett claims all reports were ignored.
The Hullett family was turned down for adoption and forced to give Judah to his biological parents on April 7, 2021, despite multiple claims of abuse. Judah was starved and beaten to death by his biological parents in what is now being described as 'a house of horrors'.
In January of this year, Indiana DCS was named as a non-party to a case seeking damages against Judah's biological father Alan Morgan. Morgan, 29, was sentenced to 70 years in prison last November for the beating death and torture of Judah. In August, Judah's biological mother, Mary Yoder, 27, pleaded guilty to her involvement with the murder.
On top of taking aim at Morgan, the civil lawsuit also is going after the Indiana Department of Child Services. The lawsuit is accusing DCS of dropping Judah's case file while he was under the care of Morgan and Yoder, despite him being considered 'an endangered child' and 'ward of the state since birth.'
Represented by Attorney Charles P. Rice, documents were requested from Judah's DCS case file. The attorney claimed DCS failed to provide any.
On August 30, Hendricks County Superior Court Judge Robert Freese filed an order requesting Miller prove that the Indiana Department of Child Services was not in contempt of court by failing to provide requested documents for court. A hearing had been scheduled for September 6, however, it was moved to September 25, after DCS asserted that internal affairs officer Christine McDonald ws more closely involved with the production of court-ordered documents from the department.
Attorneys representing the case insisted that it should be Miller tasked with providing the lack of contempt on behalf of DCS before the judge, in a motion filed on Tuesday.
On September 9, DCS made a file conceding that they were out of compliance. Attorneys argued in the filing that DCS allegedly had notified the court that '17,000 previously unproduced emails' had been found from Judah's case. Attorneys argued that within months following Judah's death, DCS was served a notice from Judah's estate that should have prompted a litigation or internal preservation hold, which was never made.
Attorneys allege DCS admitted "it can't find" multiple filings beyond just missing records, including vital proof through text messages, voicemails, photos, the biological parents drug screenings and more.
Judge Reese agreed that Miller should prove his department is not in contempt of court, and that Miller should appear before the court on September 25, at 1pm.
On August 16, Miller was also named alongside Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, in another class-action lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. The lawsuit accuses Holcomb of violating the rights of abused and neglected children, after failing to address persistent and ongoing issues within the Indiana welfare system. The suit similarly accused Miller and his department for failing their consitutional duty to protect children in the care of the state.
Miller was officially appointed as the director of DCS by Holcomb in May of 2023.