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Juvenile Law

Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=607

SC19695 - In re Elijah C. (Termination of parental rights; dismissal of appeal by Appellate Court as moot; certification from Appellate Court; "In this certified appeal, the respondent, Marquita C., appeals from the judgment of Appellate Court, which dismissed her appeal from the judgment of the trial court terminating her parental rights as to her son, Elijah C.[1] See In re Elijah C., 164 Conn. App. 518, 519, 137 A.3d 944 (2016). The respondent claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that she had failed to adequately brief one of the two independent grounds for reversing the judgment of the trial court and, consequently, that her appeal was moot. She further claims that the trial court incorrectly determined, first, that the Department of Children and Families (department) made reasonable efforts to reunify her with Elijah and, second, that she was unable to benefit from those efforts.[2] We agree with the respondent that the Appellate Court improperly dismissed her appeal as moot. We further conclude, however, that the evidence supports the trial court's determination that the respondent was unable to benefit from reunification efforts. Because our resolution of that issue constitutes an independent basis for affirming the trial court's judgment, we need not address the respondent's claim that the trial court incorrectly concluded that the department made reasonable efforts to reunify her with Elijah. We therefore vacate the judgment of the Appellate Court and remand the case to that court with direction to affirm the trial court's judgment.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=587

AC39953 - In re Luis N. (Termination of parental rights; mother; "On appeal, the respondent claims that the court (1) violated her right to due process by meeting with the children ex parte, (2) failed timely to canvass her pursuant to In re Yasiel R., (3) erred by concluding that she had failed to rehabilitate to the degree that she could not be restored as a responsible parent within a reasonable time, and (4) erred by finding that it was in the best interests of the children to terminate her parental rights in them. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")

AC39934- In re Luis N. (Termination of parental rights; father; "On appeal, the respondent claims that the judgments should be reversed because the court met with the children ex parte in the presence of a Department of Children and Families visitation supervisor, failed to make a record of its observations regarding the children, and failed to declare a mistrial. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Judicial Branch Now Publishing Headnotes for its Supreme & Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=534

The Judicial Branch has announced that it is now publishing a syllabus (headnote) at the top of each Supreme and Appellate Court opinion:

The Judicial Branch is now posting online headnotes for both Supreme and Appellate Court opinions. These headnotes, which accompany individual Supreme and Appellate Court decisions, include a short summary of the ruling and the procedural history of a case. The Reporter of Judicial Decisions prepares the headnotes, which are not part of the opinion. As such, the opinion alone should be relied upon for the reasoning behind the decision [Emphasis added].

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Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=472

SC19707 - In re Natalie S. ("On appeal to this court, the respondent asserts that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the Department of Children and Families (department) was not required to provide reunification efforts to her in the present case because the father was awarded temporary guardianship of Natalie. The petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, asserts that the department was not required to continue providing reunification efforts to the respondent because the trial court granted custody and guardianship to the father. We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")

SC19844- In re Natalie S. ("On appeal to this court, the mother asserts that the trial court incorrectly determined that North Carolina was the appropriate forum to adjudicate the issues raised in her motion for visitation. The respondent father, Matthew B. (father), asserts that the trial court properly denied the mother’s motion for visitation on the ground that North Carolina is the more appropriate forum to decide the issues raised therein. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=387

SC19798 - In re Santiago G. (Termination of parental rights; "The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether the denial of a third party's motion to intervene in a proceeding brought to terminate the parental rights of a minor child's biological mother is an appealable final judgment. The proposed intervenor, Maria G., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, Hon. Barbara M. Quinn, judge trial referee, denying her motion to intervene as of right and permissively. On appeal, Maria G. claims that her guardianship interests over the minor child, Santiago G., will effectively be extinguished if the court terminates the parental rights of the respondent Melissa E., who is Santiago's biological mother. As such, she claims to have a right to intervene or, in the alternative, that she should be granted permissive intervention. We disagree, and conclude that Maria G. does not have a colorable claim of intervention as of right and, as such, is not appealing from a final judgment. Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=373

AC39594 - In re Savannah Y. (Termination of parental rights; "The respondent mother, Ashley R., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, terminating her parental rights with respect to her minor child, Savannah Y. On appeal, the respondent claims that the court improperly determined that (1) the Department of Children and Families (department) made reasonable reunification efforts, (2) she had failed to achieve a sufficient degree of personal rehabilitation to encourage a belief that she could assume a responsible position in Savannah's life within a reasonable period of time, (3) there was no ongoing parent-child relationship, and (4) termination of her parental rights was in the best interest of the child. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=331

AC39614 - In re Harmony Q. ("The respondent father, Carlos Q., appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, terminating his parental rights with respect to his daughter, Harmony Q. On appeal, the respondent claims that the court improperly concluded that (1) he had failed to achieve a sufficient degree of personal rehabilitation necessary to encourage a belief that he could assume a responsible position in Harmony’s life within a reasonable period of time, and 2) termination of his parental rights was in the best interest of the child. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=321

AC39276, AC39787 - In re Henrry P. B.-P. (Child neglect; "These appeals highlight the limitations that courts encounter when relevant statutes provide rights, opportunities, or protections for minor children that end when they reach the age of majority, thus losing their status as juveniles...The law that we are constrained to apply, as an intermediate appellate court, in our plenary review of the relevant legal issues raised in these consolidated appeals is set forth in two recent Supreme Court opinions, In re Jose B., 303 Conn. 569, 34 A.3d 975 (2012), and In re Jessica M., 303 Conn. 584, 35 A.3d 1072 (2012). See also In re Pedro J. C., 154 Conn. App. 517, 543 n.22, 105 A.3d 943 (2014). We conclude, on the basis of that law, that after Henrry reached the age of majority, the Probate Court lacked statutory authority to make the findings required by the petitions filed by his mother, the petitioner, Reyna P. A., to appoint a coguardian for Henrry, and to consider and make the special immigration juvenile status (juvenile status) findings permitted by General Statutes § 45a-608n (b) for minor children. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the Superior Court dismissing the appeals from the decisions of the Probate Court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=313

AC39020 - In re Unique R. (Termination of parental rights; "In this appeal from the judgment of the trial court terminating his parental rights to his minor daughter, Unique R., the respondent father, Samuel M., claims that the court erred in concluding, as required to support a judgment of termination under General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (1), that the Department of Children and Families (department) made reasonable efforts to reunify him with his daughter, in accordance with General Statutes § 17a-111b (a), before the Commissioner of Children and Families (petitioner) initiated termination proceedings against him. The respondent contends, more specifically, that the department's efforts to reunify him with his daughter were not reasonable because it failed to conduct an adequate investigation into the availability and suitability of two of his relatives, his mother and his sister, Jennifer D., to serve as possible placement resources for Unique after she was taken into the petitioner's custody pursuant to an ex parte order of temporary custody at an earlier stage of the investigation that led ultimately to the filing of a termination petition against him. The respondent claims that the department's failure to conduct an adequate investigation into the availability and suitability of his mother and his sister to serve as possible placement resources for Unique, after he had provided their names and contact information to the department for that purpose, precluded the trial court from finding that the department had made reasonable efforts to reunify him with his daughter, and thus requires this court to reverse the trial court's judgment terminating his parental rights.

We disagree with the respondent for two primary reasons. First, the department's investigation of relative resources is not aimed at the reunification of the child with his or her parent and is therefore not a necessary consideration when determining whether to terminate a parent's parental rights. Second, even if the department's alleged failure to exercise due diligence in investigating relative resources was a proper consideration in assessing the reasonableness of its efforts to reunify the respondent with his daughter, said assessment is based upon a totality of the circumstances, taking multiple factors into consideration. We thus affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=294

AC39478- In re Larry D. (Termination of parental rights; " On appeal, the respondent claims that the court violated his due process rights by ordering him to participate in a psychological evaluation without first appointing him counsel and advising him of his rights. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=241

SC19578 - State v. Samuel M. (Juvenile summons; automatic transfer of case from juvenile docket to regular criminal docket of Superior Court pursuant to statute ([Rev. to 2009] § 46b-127 [a]) because defendant was fourteen years old at time of alleged offenses; sexual assault in first degree; risk of injury to child; "In this certified appeal, we are asked to determine whether the state has satisfied its burden to prove that a defendant whose case was automatically transferred from the juvenile docket to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court was at least fourteen years of age at the time he allegedly engaged in the criminal conduct underlying the charged offenses. The defendant, Samuel M., was charged by juvenile information with the crimes of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 and risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21, based on seven incidents involving his minor cousin (victim), which the state alleged to have occurred "on or about June, 2009." Based on the seriousness of the offenses and the allegation that the defendant's criminal conduct occurred in June, 2009, when the defendant was fourteen years old, the case was automatically transferred from the juvenile docket to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2009) § 46b-127 (a). After a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of two counts of sexual assault in the first degree and one count of risk of injury to a child based on two separate incidents. The Appellate Court vacated the defendant's convictions, holding that the trial court had improperly denied the defendant's posttrial motion to dismiss the amended information because the state had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the two incidents had occurred after the defendant's fourteenth birthday. State v. Samuel M., 159 Conn. App. 242, 284–85, 123 A.3d 44 (2015). Because we agree with the Appellate Court that the state did not establish under any burden of proof that the defendant was fourteen years of age at the time he committed the offenses of which he was convicted, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=228

SC19669 - In re Jayce O. ( " The respondent mother, Kaitlyn J., appeals from the judgment of the trial court terminating her parental rights with respect to her minor child, Jayce O. The respondent contends that her right to due process under both the federal and state constitutions was violated because the trial court relied in part, pursuant to General Statutes (Supp. 2016) § 17a-112 (j) (3) (E), on the prior voluntary termination of her parental rights with respect to another child when the respondent was a minor (prior termination). The respondent also contends that the trial court, in its decision on the petition for termination of parental rights filed by the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families: (1) improperly concluded that the Department of Children and Families (department) made reasonable efforts toward reunification; (2) failed to make a finding that the respondent was unable or unwilling to benefit from those reasonable efforts; and (3) improperly found that the respondent had failed to rehabilitate. We affirm the judgment of the trial court and address each of the respondent’s claims in turn. ")


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=213

SC19731 - In re Daniel N. ("In this certified appeal, the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the trial court terminating the parental rights of the respondent father, Jose N., to the minor child, Daniel N. Specifically, the petitioner claims that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that the failure to canvass the respondent prior to the commencement of the termination of parental rights trial in accordance with the rule promulgated pursuant to the exercise of our supervisory authority in In re Yasiel R., 317 Conn. 773, 120 A.3d 1188 (2015), applies retroactively to the present case and requires reversal. See In re Daniel N., 163 Conn. App. 322, 333, 135 A.3d 1260 (2016). Because we conclude that application of the canvass rule announced in In re Yasiel R. to the present case would exceed the scope of the exercise of our supervisory authority in that case, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=175

AC39013 - In re Jacquelyn W. (Child neglect; "The respondent mother, Wendy F., appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, granting a motion to transfer permanent legal guardianship of the respondent's minor daughter, Jacquelyn W., to Jacquelyn's aunt, Shirley R. The respondent claims that the court improperly granted the petitioner's motion for permanent transfer of guardianship because the court failed (1) to canvass her prior to the hearing in accordance with In re Yasiel R., 317 Conn. 773, 120 A.3d 1188 (2015); and (2) to advise her that the court could draw an adverse inference from her failure to testify. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=173

AC39142 - In re Baciany R. (Termination of parental rights; "The respondent father, Baciany R., appeals from the judgment of the trial court terminating his parental rights as to his son, Baciany R. (child). On appeal, the respondent claims that the court improperly concluded that there was clear and convincing evidence that termination of his parental rights was in the best interest of the child. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=158

AC38947 - In re Adelina A. (Termination of parental rights; "The respondent mother, Kristina D., appeals from the judgment of the trial court terminating her parental rights with respect to her daughter, Adelina A., pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j). On appeal, the respondent claims that the trial court violated her substantive due process rights, as guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution, by failing to (1) consider whether there was a less restrictive permanency plan available to "safeguard" her daughter than termination of her parental rights and (2) require the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, to "prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that there was no less restrictive" permanency plan than termination of parental rights. We determine that the record to support the respondent's constitutional claim is inadequate for review. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=128

SC19592 - State v. Nathaniel S. (Sexual assault first degree; sexual assault fourth degree; risk of injury to child; reservation by trial court of certain question for advice of Supreme Court regarding whether public act (P.A. 15-183) that increased age of child whose case was subject to automatic transfer from docket for juvenile matters to regular criminal docket to fifteen years was to be applied retroactively to pending cases; "A person convicted of a class A or class B felony on the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court may be subject to a lengthy mandatory minimum sentence and may suffer various adverse consequences attendant to a felony conviction. By contrast, a child adjudicated a delinquent on the juvenile docket for committing that same offense is subject to at most four years confinement at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and is spared many of those attendant consequences. Our juvenile justice statutory scheme requires the automatic transfer of certain cases involving children who have been charged with the commission of a class A or class B felony from the docket for juvenile matters to the regular criminal docket. In 2015, the legislature amended the juvenile transfer statute to increase the age of a child whose case was subject to an automatic transfer by one year, to fifteen years old. Public Acts 2015, No. 15-183, § 1 (P.A. 15-183, or act), codified at General Statutes (Supp. 2016) § 46b-127 (a) (1). Prior to this amendment, the court was required to transfer a case from the juvenile docket to the regular criminal docket in which a child, such as the defendant, Nathaniel S., had been charged with the commission of certain felonies and had attained the age of fourteen years prior to the commission of such offenses. See General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 46b-127 (a) (1). The question presented by this reserved question of law is whether that amendment applies retroactively, so that the case of a child who has been charged with committing a class A or class B felony prior to the enactment of P.A. 15-183, and whose case already has been transferred to the regular criminal docket, should now have his case transferred back to the juvenile docket. We conclude that the legislature intended that P.A. 15-183 apply retroactively and, accordingly, we answer the reserved question in the affirmative.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=122

AC38627 - In re Sydnei V. (Termination of parental rights; “On appeal, the respondent claims that the court (1) violated her right to due process by failing to determine, during the dispositional phase of the termination of parental rights proceeding, that there would be some adverse effect to the child by failing to terminate her parental rights in the child, (2) erred in finding that it was in the child’s best interests to terminate the respondent’s parental rights as to the child, and (3) committed plain error by failing to canvass her prior to trial as required by In re Yasiel R., 317 Conn. 773, 120 A.3d 1188 (2015) (Yasiel canvass), and In re Daniel N., 163 Conn. App. 322, 135 A.3d 1260, cert. granted, Conn. , A.3d (2016). We disagree and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=57

AC38710 - In re Danyellah S.-C. ("The respondent mother appeals from the judgments of the trial court terminating her parental rights with respect to her four minor children. On appeal, the respondent claims that the court improperly denied her midtrial request to remove her court-appointed counsel. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=33

Connecticut Supreme Court

SC19643, SC19644 - In re Egypt E. ("The respondent father, Morsy E., and the respondent mother, Natasha E., filed separate appeals from the judgments of the trial court terminating their parental rights as to their minor children, Egypt E. and Mariam E. On appeal, the respondents claim that the trial court improperly terminated their parental rights to their minor children pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 17a-112 (j). As a threshold matter, the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, asserts that this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear the respondents' appeals because the respondents did not appeal from the judgments of the trial court terminating their rights as to their minor children on the ground that reunification efforts were not required under General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) §§ 17a-112 (j) and 17a-111b (b). After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that, due to a clerical error at the trial court, the record is not sufficiently clear to determine whether the respondents were properly notified of the basis of the trial court's judgments such that they could properly appeal from its determination that the petitioner was not required to make reunification efforts pursuant to §§ 17a-112 (j) and 17a-111b (b). Accordingly, because the clerical error at the trial court implicates both the integrity of the trial court's record keeping and the due process rights of the respondents to appeal from the judgments of the trial court terminating their parental rights, we must remand the matter for a new trial.")

Connecticut Appellate Court

AC38541 - In re Carla C. (Termination of parental rights; "In this appeal from the termination of the parental rights of the respondent father, Carlos C., the dispositive issues are (1) whether a parent's involvement in a crime before the birth of his child may be an act of parental commission or omission forming the basis for termination of his parental rights pursuant to General Statutes § 45a-717 (g) (2) (B), and (2) whether a court may find that no ongoing parent-child relationship exists, pursuant to § 45a-717 (g) (2) (C), when a custodial parent's conduct has contributed significantly to the establishment of that ground for termination. We agree with the respondent that his commission of a crime before the birth of the child in this case, Carla C. (Carla), is not a parental act of commission or omission, as that basis for termination properly is understood. We also agree with the respondent that when a custodial parent has interfered with an incarcerated parent's visitation and other efforts to maintain an ongoing parent-child relationship with the parties' child, the custodial parent cannot terminate the noncustodial parent's parental rights on the ground of no ongoing parent-child relationship. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court granting the petition of the petitioner mother, Glenda G., for termination of the respondent's parental rights as to Carla.")

AC38665 - In re David B. (Termination of parental rights; appeal from Probate Court; trial de novo; "The sole issue raised in the present appeal is whether the trial court, in adjudicating a petition to terminate parental rights originating in Probate Court, had the authority, following the death of the original petitioner and legal guardian of the minor child during the pendency of the proceedings, to grant a motion to substitute the child's newly appointed legal guardian as the petitioner in place of the decedent. We conclude that, under the unique set of circumstances presented here, such a substitution was both legally permissible and appropriate given that the newly appointed legal guardian is authorized to bring the termination action herself.")


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