Justia Juvenile Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Maine Supreme Judicial Court
State v. Silva
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the dispositional order imposed after an adjudication that juvenile Timothy Silva committed manslaughter, holding that the court did not err in committing him to detention.Silva was sixteen years old when he lost control of a vehicle and caused the death of three passengers and serious injuries to a fourth. The juvenile court adjudicated Silva to have committed one count of manslaughter and committed him to Long Creek Youth Development Center for an undetermined period of up Silva's twenty-first birthday. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the court's disposition was neither error nor an abuse of discretion. View "State v. Silva" on Justia Law
State v. A.I.
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order of the juvenile court placing A.I. in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, holding that the juvenile court correctly applied the preponderance of the evidence standard when it determined whether to place A.I. in the custody of the Department.On appeal, Mother argued that the matter should be remanded to the juvenile court so that findings can be addressed under a clear and convincing standard rather than a preponderance of the evidence standard. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding that A.I.'s dispositional hearing fell on the less-intrusive end of the continuum and that the juvenile court did not err when it applied the preponderance of the evidence standard in the proceedings below. View "State v. A.I." on Justia Law
State v. P.S.
The Court of Appeals vacated the disposition imposed by the district court in three juvenile matters, holding that the language in State v. J.R., 191 A.3d 1157 (Me. 2018), could be read to suggest that a court imposing an indeterminate commitment of a juvenile to a Department of Corrections facility must specify a commitment no shorter in duration than up to the juvenile's eighteenth birthday, and the trial court here may have proceeded under such a belief.In this consolidated appeal, P.S. argued that the district court abused its discretion in ordering that he be committed to Long Creek Youth Development Center for an indeterminate period up to age eighteen. The Court of Appeals noted that, once the district court decided to commit P.S. to Long Creek, it may have felt compelled to order him committed up to his eighteenth birthday. The Court then acknowledged that its language in J.R. may have contributed to such a belief and clarified that the language of J.R. does not constrain a juvenile court's discretion to impose a shorter period of indeterminate commitment than up to a juvenile's eighteenth birthday so long as that commitment is for at least one year. Accordingly, the Court vacated the judgment and remanded the matter. View "State v. P.S." on Justia Law
A.I. v. State
The Supreme Judicial Court dismissed this appeal from the judgment of a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court denying Appellant's petition for habeas corpus, holding that this appeal presented issues that were moot and that none of the exceptions to the mootness doctrine applied.Appellant was charged with multiple juvenile offenses. The district court ordered him held at Long Creek Youth Development Center while awaiting trial. The proceedings were suspended when Appellant was determined to be incompetent to stand trial. Thereafter, Appellant filed a petition for habeas corpus seeking release from Long Creek. The single justice denied the petition. Appellant appealed. Before oral argument, Appellant was released from Long Creek and placed in a residential treatment facility, and the charges against him were dismissed. The Supreme Judicial Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the appeal was moot and that none of the exceptions to the mootness doctrine applied. View "A.I. v. State" on Justia Law
State v. J.R.
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court, sitting as the juvenile court, that adjudicated J.R. of having committed two counts of criminal mischief and three counts of theft, holding that the district court acted within its discretion.Specifically, the Court held (1) the court did not abuse its discretion or otherwise err in determining that commitment to a secure juvenile correctional institution was the least restrictive dispositional alternative, absent any explicit finding that J.R.’s commitment was necessary to protect the public; and (2) J.R.’s indeterminate commitment until age eighteen did not offend constitutional principles of proportional punishment. View "State v. J.R." on Justia Law
State v. Fulton
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the juvenile court adjudicating Appellant of the juvenile crime of gross sexual assault. On appeal, Appellant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the adjudication, that the court deprived him of due process when it denied his motion for production of Department of Health and Human Services records without conducting an in camera review, and that the investigative and adjudicatory processes and the outcome of the case did not comport with the policies of the Juvenile Code. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed and summarily disposed of Appellant’s essential challenges on appeal. In addition, the court noted that the Legislature may wish to review Me. Rev. Stat. 17-A, 253(1)(C) to consider how the statute “is most effectively and appropriately applied in juvenile cases to achieve the purposes of the Juvenile Code.” View "State v. Fulton" on Justia Law
In re Emma B.
Father lived the child and her mother, outside of Maine, until 2008, when the child was about six months old. After that time, he maintained regular contact with the child, who resided primarily in New York, but was never her primary caregiver. In 2016 Mother moved to Maine with the child. Father, who is incarcerated in Massachusetts, did not oppose the move. While he was incarcerated the child asked a neighbor for help and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services commenced a child protection proceeding. Father made no effort to take responsibility. The Department obtained a preliminary protection order, 22 M.R.S. 4032-4036, and placed the child in foster care after hospitalization for psychiatric care. Father was served with notice and provided with appointed counsel, who moved to dismiss the petition for lack of personal jurisdiction because Father is not a Maine resident, has never traveled to Maine,and otherwise lacked sufficient minimum contacts with Maine. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the court’s rejection of that motion. The court was not required to have jurisdiction over Father to have authority to issue a jeopardy order to protect the child. View "In re Emma B." on Justia Law
State v. Jacob L.
Following entry of a judgment adjudicating Jacob L. of the juvenile crime of aggravated assault, the juvenile court entered an order denying Jacob’s motion for return of property. Jacob appealed, arguing that the juvenile court applied an incorrect legal standard when it determined that the State was entitled to retain possession of cash that had been seized from him and that there was insufficient evidence to support the court’s findings. The Supreme Judicial Court dismissed this appeal as interlocutory and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings because the juvenile court had not yet issued an order determining who owned or was otherwise entitled to possession of the seized property. View "State v. Jacob L." on Justia Law
Kilborn v. Carey
A daughter was born to Carey and Knight in 2010. The child was hospitalized with a serious illness when she was about a month old. Knight ended his relationship with Carey and removed himself from his daughter’s life. Carey moved into Kilborn’s home when the child was two months old; they married weeks later, including an informal “adoption” ceremony. They held the child out as Kilborn’s “adopted” daughter. Kilbourn actively participated in the child’s life, including providing day-to-day care. The couple discussed formal adoption, but he understood that Knight was unwilling or unable to consent. Kilborn and Carey had two children together. The children were raised as full siblings.Carey’s daughter refers to Kilborn as “daddy.” Kilborn's parents have acted as grandparents to all three children. In 2014, Kilborn sought a divorce and requested that he be declared the de facto father of Carey’s daughter. Carey opposed Kilborn’s request and denied him access to the child, though he had visitation with his biological children. She attempted to reintroduce Knight into the child’s life. The court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that the child’s life would be substantially and negatively affected by Kilborn’s absence and that Kilborn had satisfied his burden of showing that he is the child’s de facto parent. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, noting that the Maine Parentage Act, 19-A M.R.S. 1831-1938, will soon take effect and mirrors precedent. View "Kilborn v. Carey" on Justia Law
Dorr v. Woodard
The father of Woodard’s child died seven months after the child’s birth. There is no evidence that Woodard is an unfit parent. Dorr, the mother of the deceased father, sought court-ordered visitation with Woodard’s child, alleging a sufficient existing relationship between herself and the child, or, in the alternative, that she had made a sufficient effort to establish a relationship, 19-A M.R.S. 1803(1)(B), (C). Before the child’s birth, Dorr attended a baby shower. Dorr was in the hospital on the evening that the child was born—September 3, 2012. Dorr had additional, unspecified contact with the child until Dorr’s son died and Woodard ceased contact with Dorr. Mediation was unsuccessful. Woodard moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that the Act infringes on her fundamental right to govern the care, custody, and control of her child, and is unconstitutional both on its face and as applied. The court dismissed Dorr’s petition, finding that the affidavit did not establish a sufficient existing relationship with the child or a sufficient effort to establish such a relationship, and did not make an initial showing of “urgent reasons” that would justify infringement on the mother’s rights. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, finding that Dorr lacked standing, given the lack of “urgent reasons.” View "Dorr v. Woodard" on Justia Law