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Juvenile Law

Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2991

AC40809 - In re Athena C. (Petition by the Commissioner of Children and Families to terminate parental rights; “The respondent claims that the trial court improperly (1) determined that the termination of his parental rights was in the child’s best interest; and (2) denied his motion to transfer guardianship of the child to the child’s maternal grandmother (grandmother). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2963

AC40760 - In re Mariana A. ("The petitioner claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that she had not met her burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the mother had failed to rehabilitate in accordance with General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (B) (i), and (2) failed to analyze properly whether the father had abandoned Mariana pursuant to § 17a-112 (j) (3) (A). We disagree with the petitioner’s claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=1902

AC40437 - In re Kyllan V. (Termination of parental rights; collateral estoppel; "The respondent father appeals from the judgment of the trial court terminating his parental rights with respect to his biological daughter, K, pursuant to General Statutes § 45a-717 (g). The respondent claims on appeal that the trial court improperly relied on the adjudicatory findings from a prior proceeding involving two of his other children to support the adjudicatory ground in the present case, namely, that because of a parental act of commission or omission, K was denied care, guidance, or control necessary for her physical, educational, moral, or emotional well-being as required by the statute. We agree with the respondent that the trial court improperly applied collateral estoppel in determining that K was denied the care, guidance, or control necessary for her physical, educational, moral, or emotional well-being as a result of the respondent's act of commission or omission. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment and remand the case for a new trial.")


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=834

SC19913, SC19914 - In Re Egypt E. (Termination of parental rights; "This case chiefly concerns the scope of the ground for termination of parental rights contemplated by General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (C), regarding acts of parental commission or omission that deny a child the care necessary for the child’s physical or emotional well-being… The respondents claim, therefore, that the termination of their parental rights improperly was based on a finding of predictive harm, a type of harm not contemplated by § 17a-112 (j) (3) (C). We agree with the respondents that a termination of parental rights pursuant to § 17a- 112 (j) (3) (C) may not be based upon predictive harm. Under the unusual procedural circumstances underlying this appeal, however, we conclude that the court properly found that § 17a-112 (j) (3) (C) was proven on the basis that Egypt had been harmed by the respondents’ postremoval acts of parental commission or omission. Specifically, because the petitions to terminate the respondents’ parental rights were amended, and, therefore, the adjudicatory date was extended to encompass events subsequent to the filing of the original petitions, the court properly considered the conduct following the removal of the children, which had an actual, harmful effect on the well-being of Egypt. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=797

SC19907 - In re Henrry P. B. - P. ("In this certified appeal, we consider whether the Probate Court retains the statutory authority to make findings pursuant to General Statutes § 45a-608n (b) in connection with a petition for special immigrant juvenile status (juvenile status) under 8 U.S.C. § 1101 (a) (27) (J), when the minor child who is the subject of the petition reaches the age of eighteen years old during the pendency of the petition. The petitioner, Reyna P. A., and her son, Henrry P. B.-P., appeal, upon our grant of their petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which affirmed the judgments of the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters dismissing their appeals from the decisions of the Probate Court. In re Henrry P. B.-P., 171 Conn. App. 393, 415, 156 A.3d 673 (2017). We agree with their dispositive claim in this appeal, and conclude that the Probate Court did not lose its authority to make juvenile status findings pursuant to § 45a-608n (b) when Henrry turned eighteen years old during the pendency of the petition. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=758

AC40202 - In re Jacob W. (Termination of parental rights; "On appeal, the petitioner challenges the trial court’s conclusion that she had failed to prove the nonexistence of an ongoing parent-child relationship by clear and convincing evidence as required by General Statutes § 45a-717 (g) (2) (C).3 The petitioner argues, inter alia, that the trial court applied the incorrect legal test to determine whether such a relationship exists by focusing on the respondent’s actions rather than the children’s feelings.4 We agree that the trial court applied the incorrect test because the court legally and logically cannot have found both that a parent-child relationship exists and that the custodians prevented such a relationship from existing. Moreover, even under the test as applied, the trial court’s conclusions are inconsistent. Accordingly, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand the case for a new trial.")

AC40517 - In re Damian G. (Termination of parental rights; “The respondent claims that the court erroneously found that: (1) she failed to rehabilitate and (2) the termination of her parental rights was in the best interests of the children. We affirm the judgments of the trial court... The respondent has failed to demonstrate that any of the court’s findings were clearly erroneous. The court’s best interest determination rests on a variety of findings, several of which are not challenged on appeal.”)


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=713

SC19902 Order on Motion- In Re Elianah T.-T. ("Following the release of our decision in In re Elianah T.-T., 326 Conn. 614, 165 A.3d 1236 (2017), in which this court concluded that General Statutes § 17a-10 (c) did not authorize the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families (commissioner), to vaccinate a child placed in her temporary custody over the objection of that child's parents, the commissioner moved for reconsideration pursuant to Practice Book § 71-5. In this motion for reconsideration, the commissioner states that, in briefing this case, she should have claimed that General Statutes § 17a-10 (c) should be interpreted in the context of General Statutes §§ 17a-93 and 17a-98. Specifically, the commissioner contends that the operation of General Statutes § 17a-10 (c) is limited to custody over juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent, and that General Statutes §§ 17a-93 and 17a-98 confer broader guardianship authority that permits her to vaccinate minor children in her custody. The commissioner candidly acknowledges that she did not advance her arguments concerning the effect of General Statutes §§ 17a-93 and 17a-98 until the filing of this motion for reconsideration. As this argument was not previously advanced to this court, we grant the motion for reconsideration, but deny the relief requested.")


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/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.")


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