Justia Juvenile Law Opinion Summaries
Oregon v. A. R. H.
A.R.H. challenged a juvenile court order directing him to report as a sex offender. At issue was the meaning and application of ORS 163A.030, which directs a juvenile court to conduct a hearing at which the youth bears the “burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence” that the youth “is rehabilitated and does not pose a threat to the safety of the public.” If the court finds the youth has not met that burden, then the court must enter an order requiring the youth to report as a sex offender. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded the inquiry assigned to the juvenile court (clear and convincing evidence) is a factual inquiry. Finding that the evidence presented in this case permitted the juvenile court to find that the youth failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he was “rehabilitated” and not “a threat to the safety of the public,” the Supreme Court affirmed the juvenile court’s order. View "Oregon v. A. R. H." on Justia Law
Posted in: Criminal Law, Juvenile Law, Oregon Supreme Court
In re Jonathan C.M.
Under the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, certain dependents and wards of the juvenile court may remain under the court’s "continuing jurisdiction" and receive financial assistance as “nonminor dependents” until they turn 21 years old (Welf. & Inst. Code 303(b); 11403) under the “AB12” program.Jonathan, born in 2003, has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and other mental health and developmental conditions; he suffered a chaotic childhood characterized by neglect, abuse, and homelessness. In recommending termination of his transitional jurisdiction, Probation wrote, Jonathan wants the benefits of utilizing the program, “but his actions and behavior indicate he is not willing to uphold his obligations set forth in the mutual agreement or case plan.” Jonathan continued to not provide documentation of his employment or his enrollment in a training program; he deflected questions about his living situation. At two continued hearings, Jonathan was not present. The probation officer reported having texted and emailed Jonathan that week without a response and that Jonathan also missed an appointment with a transitional housing provider. The juvenile court terminated AB12 services, stating “[T]he law requires him to meet certain requirements, and he hasn’t been meeting those requirements, and he’s had multiple opportunities.”The court of appeal reversed. The juvenile court erred in terminating transition jurisdiction without considering Jonathan’s best interests. View "In re Jonathan C.M." on Justia Law
Posted in: California Courts of Appeal, Juvenile Law
In re S.F.
After mother was released from a section 5150 hold, the Agency and mother agreed to a safety plan whereby 11-month-old S.F. would remain in maternal grandmother’s care. Mother violated the safety plan. Father was then residing in New York but was providing monetary assistance to mother and minor. Mother and her boyfriend alleged she received threatening text messages from father. The Agency detained S.F. and filed a petition alleging failure to protect under Welfare and Institutions Code 300(b)(1), alleging that “father has anger management issues and “reported that he used to abuse crack cocaine and alcohol but that he is about 2 years sober.” Father desired to take custody and was willing to move to California. He alleged that he and his sister had been “physically present” and helped care for minor until minor was three months old.The juvenile court adjudicated S.F. a dependent of the court. The court of appeal reversed in part. The jurisdictional findings, the dispositional order removing S.F. from father’s custody, and the orders requiring father to engage in substance abuse testing and treatment are not supported by substantial evidence. The juvenile court adequately complied with the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. 1901. The Agency had a reason to believe, but did not have sufficient information to determine there was a reason to know, S.F. was an Indian child. View "In re S.F." on Justia Law
Posted in: California Courts of Appeal, Family Law, Juvenile Law
In re A.H.
Newborn A.H. was placed in a foster home. The Agency reported that it had denied a request for placement by J.B., a “nonrelative extended family member” (NREFM, Welf. & Inst. Code 362.7). J.B. filed a “Relative Information,” requesting that A.H. live with her. The Agency objected on the ground that J.B. was not a relative for purposes of the proceedings. The juvenile court agreed, stating that it independently considered placement with several relatives or with J.B. and denied placement with those individuals “for the reasons stated in the Social Worker’s Report.” J.B. filed a section 388 “Request to Change Court Order.” The juvenile court summarily denied J.B.’s petition, finding that the request did not state new evidence or a change of circumstances, and did not promote A.H.’s best interest. J.B. filed a notice of appeal. The Agency reported that in the dependency case of A.H.’s half-sibling, J.B. “created a division” between the Agency and the parents, falsely accusing the caregiver of neglect. The juvenile court terminated parental rights, selecting adoption as the permanent plan.The court of appeal dismissed J.B.’s appeal from the denial of her petition, the refusal to consider her relative information form, and the placement order. Although J.B. may have an “interest” in A.H. that is sufficient for filing a section 388 petition, she does not have a legally cognizable interest in A.H.’s placement such that she has standing to challenge the juvenile court’s placement decision. View "In re A.H." on Justia Law
Posted in: California Courts of Appeal, Civil Procedure, Family Law, Juvenile Law
County of San Diego v. Com. on State Mandates
The County of San Diego filed a test claim with the Commission on State Mandates seeking reimbursement from the State for costs the County incurred to prepare for, and attend, criminal proceedings known as "Franklin" proceedings. The Commission denied the County’s test claim, finding the costs at issue were not reimbursable because the laws on which the County based its test claim—Penal Code sections 3041, 3046, 3051, and 4801, as added and amended by Statutes 2013, chapter 312, Statutes 2015, chapter 471, and Statutes 2017, chapter 684—did not expressly require counties to participate in Franklin proceedings. Alternatively, the Commission found the County was not entitled to reimbursement because the Test Claim Statutes fell within an exception to the mandatory reimbursement requirement, which applied when a law changes the penalty for a crime. The County sought judicial review, but the trial court denied relief for the same reasons articulated by the Commission in its decision denying the test claim. Like the Commission and the trial court, the Court of Appeal concluded the County was not entitled to mandatory reimbursement from the State because the Test Claim Statutes changed the penalties for crimes. "In our view, these laws change the penalties for crimes because they make the vast majority of youth offenders in the State eligible to receive a youth offender parole hearing and, as a result, many youth offenders are released from prison years or even decades earlier than they would have been if they had served out their original sentences." Given this determination, the Court determined it was unnecessary to decide whether the Test Claim Statutes imposed a mandate on counties to carry out a new program or a higher level of service. View "County of San Diego v. Com. on State Mandates" on Justia Law
T. S. v. County of Cook
Fox TV obtained permission from Superintendent Dixon to film scenes for the television series, Empire, at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Fox used the Center’s outdoor yard, visitation room, medical office, and certain living spaces for five days and returned to film retakes on seven additional days. During filming, several housing pods housed more detainees than the Center’s policy suggested; some detainees exercised indoors instead of in the outdoor yard; some classes were moved; and the Center postponed or canceled some extra‐curricular activities and held visitation hours in a smaller room.Three detainees filed a proposed class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The district court granted Dixon partial summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds because the plaintiffs had not shown “a clearly established right to be free of the arguably modest disruptions” but did not dismiss state law claims. The court reasoned that Dixon acted as the detainees’ guardian and had a fiduciary duty to “protect [them] from harm.” Under the holding, Dixon would only be entitled to sovereign immunity on the state law breach of fiduciary duty claim if he proved that he did not violate the detainees’ constitutional rights. On interlocutory appeal, the Seventh Circuit held that Dixon is immune from suit under the Illinois State Lawsuit Immunity Act. The alleged wrongful conduct arose from decisions Dixon made within the scope of his authority. View "T. S. v. County of Cook" on Justia Law
In re E.W.
The Agency filed a Welfare and Institutions Code section 300 petition on behalf of eight children, alleging sexual abuse. Mother initially indicated that her deceased mother “had some Native ancestry.” Father reported “no Native American ancestry.” Days later, Mother reported that “she is not Native American and she paid for genetic testing.” At the detention hearing, Mother’s counsel represented that Mother has no Indian ancestry that she knows. The juvenile court responded: "Maybe there was a misunderstanding. I’ll make a finding that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA, 25 U.S.C. 1901) does not apply.” Mother's ICWA-020 form indicated “no Indian ancestry as far as I know.” Father's form indicated “None.” The maternal aunt and the paternal grandfather both reported no documented information about Native American ancestry.After the contested hearing, the juvenile court declared dependency. A maternal cousin, the grandfather, and an aunt attended. The court again asked about Native American ancestry. The parents responded no. The court's finding that ICWA did not apply was included in the order.The parents did not challenge the jurisdictional findings or the dispositional orders but alleged that the Agency failed to satisfy its initial duty of inquiry into the children’s possible Native American heritage. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting their contention that the Agency was required to interview five additional extended family members, acknowledging that the Agency and the juvenile court have an “affirmative and continuing” duty of inquiry. View "In re E.W." on Justia Law
Posted in: California Courts of Appeal, Family Law, Juvenile Law, Native American Law
In re F.M.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal declining to remand this matter to the juvenile court, holding that because the trial court did not comply with the "mandatory express declaration" set forth in Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code 702 and was not "aware of" wobbler offenses, the court of appeals erred in failing to remand the case for further proceedings.Under section 702, when a minor is found to have committed a wobbler, which is punishable either as a misdemeanor or as a felony at the discretion of the sentencing court, "the court shall declare the offense to be a misdemeanor or a felony." In the instant case, the trial court did not comply with section 702's express declaration mandate. The court of appeal concluded that remand was unnecessary because the record established that the juvenile court "was both aware of and exercised its discretion to treat the sustained allegations as felonies." The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, applying In re Manzy W., 14 Cal.4th 1199 (1997), a remand was required on the record. View "In re F.M." on Justia Law
Posted in: Criminal Law, Juvenile Law, Supreme Court of California
Ex parte Moon
After Appellant Cameron Moon was certified in juvenile court to stand trial as an adult, the juvenile court ordered his case transferred to the district court for adult criminal proceedings. Appellant then filed a pretrial application of writ of habeas corpus challenging the transfer. The district court denied relief, so Appellant took an interlocutory appeal. The Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s order denying relief, concluding the State had failed to establish the necessary statutory criteria for waiver of juvenile jurisdiction and transfer into the adult criminal court. As a result, the appellate court remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the prosecution for lack of jurisdiction. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the State's petition for discretionary review to consider several issues related to the juvenile court's transfer order including whether the court of appeals erred to hold that such a challenge was even cognizable in pretrial habeas. However, the Court concluded that, even if Appellant’s claims were cognizable in a pretrial habeas proceeding, the court of appeals lacked the authority to entertain Appellant’s interlocutory appeal. Accordingly, the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the court of appeals’ judgment and remanded to that court for an order dismissing Appellant’s appeal as premature. View "Ex parte Moon" on Justia Law
Colorado in the interest of: A.T.C.
After defense counsel raised concerns regarding seventeen-year-old A.T.C.’s competency, the magistrate ordered a competency evaluation. A psychologist from the Office of Behavioral Health (“OBH”) subsequently evaluated A.T.C. and determined that he was incompetent but restorable. Shortly thereafter, based on OBH’s evaluation, the magistrate entered a preliminary finding that A.T.C. was incompetent but restorable. The State moved for a second competency evaluation, asking the magistrate to allow a psychologist of the State's choosing to evaluate A.T.C. Over defense counsel’s objection, the magistrate granted the motion. The psychologist retained by the State evaluated A.T.C. and concluded that he was competent to proceed. Following a contested hearing at which OBH’s psychologist, the psychologist retained by the State, and a third psychologist all testified, the magistrate found that A.T.C. was competent to proceed. Defense counsel timely petitioned the juvenile court for review, but was unsuccessful. Counsel then petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court. Addressing whether a juvenile in a delinquency case could seek interlocutory review of a magistrate’s competency finding in the juvenile court as a matter of first impression, the Supreme Court concluded a magistrate’s finding of competency pursuant to section 19-1-108(3)(a.5), C.R.S. (2022), was subject to review in the juvenile court under section 19-1-108(5.5). View "Colorado in the interest of: A.T.C." on Justia Law
Posted in: Colorado Supreme Court, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Juvenile Law