Justia Juvenile Law Opinion Summaries

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K.V. (Mother) and David V. (Father) appealed the juvenile court’s order terminating their parental rights to daughter M.V. They contend the court erred when it declined to order a supplemental bonding study and did not conduct a proper analysis of the beneficial parent-child relationship exception.   The Second Appellate District reversed the order terminating parental rights and remanded the matter to juvenile court. The court explained that by failing to determine whether M.V. had a substantial, positive attachment to her parents, and by relying on improper factors in assessing detriment, the juvenile court failed to perform the appropriate analysis when determining if the beneficial parental relationship exception applied. View "In re M.V. CA2/" on Justia Law

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Appellant V.R. is the mother of now 11-year-old N.R. Mother appealed the juvenile court’s order terminating her parental rights as to N.R. Mother argued that the order is unsupported by clear and convincing evidence of parental unfitness or child detriment. Specifically, she argued that termination cannot be predicated on earlier, unchallenged findings of parental unfitness or child detriment as to N.R. because, after N.R. and her younger half-sister R.L. were removed from mother’s custody, the juvenile court returned R.L. to mother. According to mother, R.L.’s return to mother “rebutted” the earlier findings as a matter of law. If these earlier findings are disregarded, mother continues, no substantial evidence otherwise supports termination of her parental rights as to N.R.   The Second Appellate District affirmed the juvenile court’s order. The court explained that the record reflects manifest differences between N.R.’s and R.L.’s needs and mother’s ability to parent each child. Throughout the proceedings, the juvenile court carefully considered this evidence and the respective risks the children faced in mother’s care. The court, therefore, rejected mother’s argument that R.L.’s return to mother rebutted or otherwise limited the vitality of prior findings of mother’s unfitness to parent N.R. or the detriment to N.R. of remaining in, or being returned to, mother’s custody. Notwithstanding its order returning R.L. to mother’s custody, due process permitted the juvenile court to rely on such findings at the section 366.26 hearing. View "In re N.R." on Justia Law

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Minor K.C. appealed the order imposing a condition of probation that prohibits unconsented sexual touching of another person. K.C. argues that probation condition 6A is unconstitutionally vague because it does not define “sexual touching.” He points out, for example, that lewd or lascivious conduct prohibits touching of a child with the intent to sexually arouse the perpetrator or the child, but the touching need not be done in a sexual manner.   The Second Appellate District affirmed the condition. The court explained that probation condition 6A provides fair warning of the conduct it prohibits. A reasonable person would interpret this provision to proscribe unconsented touching of another person that involves any sexual connotation, either due to the parts of the body involved or K.C.’s intent in touching the person. The term “unconsented” provides guidance and permits K.C. to avoid violating the condition in those instances where he has that person’s consent. That different penal statutes define and proscribe particular sexual crimes in different terms makes no difference; K.C. must avoid all unconsented sexual touching. The condition is sufficiently definite to preclude constitutional infirmity. View "In re K.C." on Justia Law

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Jane Doe and two boys were accused of killing Doe’s parents. Even though Doe was a juvenile at the time of the murders, the government charged her with two counts of first-degree murder. The government successfully moved to transfer her case to adult court, where the punishments for first-degree murder are death or mandatory life imprisonment without parole. These punishments would be unconstitutional when applied to a juvenile. Doe argued she could not be transferred to adult court because, even if guilty, there was no statutory punishment available for her alleged crime. She also argued the district court used an incorrect legal standard for transfer from juvenile to adult court and improperly weighed the relevant factors for transfer. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals found her constitutional argument was not ripe, the district court applied the correct legal standard, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in weighing the transfer factors. The Court therefore affirmed the district court’s transfer of Doe’s case from juvenile to adult court. View "United States v. Doe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that Defendant's sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Ohio Const. art. I, 9 when he was convicted as a juvenile and the trial court failed to consider his youth as a mitigating factor in sentencing.Defendant was charged with allegedly committing acts which, if committed by an adult, would constitute the offense of complicity to aggravated murder and other crimes. After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of several charges, and the trial court sentenced him to an indefinite life sentence in prison with parole eligible after thirty-eight to forty-three years. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court's sentence was unconstitutional because the court failed to consider Defendant's youth as a factor in sentencing. View "State v. Morris" on Justia Law

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The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services filed a petition alleging that the minor had been sexually abused by her father. Mother was not named as an offending parent in the petition. The juvenile court found that the Department failed to prove the sexual abuse allegations against the father but did not dismiss the petition. Instead, the court found that the evidence supported jurisdiction based upon unpleaded allegations of emotional abuse by the mother, a position urged by the minor’s counsel but opposed by the Department. The court subsequently entered a disposition order.The court of appeal reversed. The juvenile court violated the mother’s due process rights when it established jurisdiction based on the conduct of a parent the Department never alleged was an offending parent, and on a factual and legal theory not raised in the Department’s petition. Parents have a due process right to be informed of the nature of the proceedings and the allegations upon which the deprivation of custody is predicated so that they can make an informed decision on whether to appear, prepare, and contest the allegations. View "In re S.V." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court reducing Joshua Anderle's sentence for sexual abuse of a minor by two years following his completion of the Youthful Offender Transition Program, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by reducing Anderle's sentence by two years in recognition of his successful completion of the program.Anderle entered an Alford plea to second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. The district court sentenced him to eight to twelve years' imprisonment and recommended that the Wyoming Department of Corrections treat Anderle as a youthful offender under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 7-13-1001 et seq. After Anderle successfully completed the program the court held a sentence reduction hearing and reduced Anderle's sentence by two years. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court reasonably declined to reduce Anderle's sentence to probation. View "Anderle v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals determining that Ohio Rev. Code 2152.84(A)(2)(b) was fundamentally unfair as applied to D.R., the juvenile in this case, and thus violated his right to procedural due process, holding that the court of appeals did not err.D.R. was adjudicated delinquent for sexually assaulting his friend when he was sixteen years old. The juvenile court suspended D.R.'s commitment and placed him on probation with conditions. The court classified D.R. as a Tier I offender and notified him that he had a duty to register as a sex offender. At the end of D.R.'s disposition, the magistrate terminated D.R.'s probation but continued his Tier I classification on the grounds that it lacked the statutory authority the terminate the classification. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute was fundamentally unfair as applied to D.R. and violated due process. View "In re D.R." on Justia Law

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The State of New Hampshire petitioned for original jurisdiction to the New Hampshire Supreme Court to challenge a circuit court order that granted respondent’s motion to dismiss a juvenile delinquency petition. The trial court ruled that the State failed to comply with RSA 169-B:6, IV(b) (2022) because no “manifestation review” had occurred prior to the filing of the delinquency petition. The Supreme Count found the term “manifestation review,” in the context of a juvenile delinquency petition resulting from conduct in a school setting by a student with a disability, referred to a process whereby a school, the student’s parents, and other parties review the student’s individualized education plan (IEP) and other relevant information to determine whether the alleged misconduct stemmed from the student’s disability or the school’s failure to implement the student’s IEP. The Court affirmed and held that whenever a delinquency petition is to be filed pursuant to RSA 169-B:6, IV(b) and the legally liable school district has determined that the child is a child with a disability according to RSA 186-C:2, I, then a manifestation review must be performed prior to the filing of the delinquency petition. "Of course, if the legislature disagrees with our construction of RSA 169-B:6, IV, it is free, within constitutional limits, to amend the statute accordingly." View "Petition of State of New Hampshire" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the juvenile court's adjudication of Appellant for obstruction of a peace officer, holding that serving a protection order falls within the preservation of the peace element of the misdemeanor offense and that the State proved the remaining elements.On appeal, Appellant argued that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the crime of obstructing a peace officer. The Supreme Court disagreed and affirmed the juvenile court's order adjudicating Appellant to be a child within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247(1), holding that the State adduced sufficient evidence to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. View "In re Interest of Elijahking F." on Justia Law