IN RE TYRIQ T., SC 19153
Judicial District of Waterbury
Juveniles; Appellate Jurisdiction; Whether Order Transferring Juvenile Offender’s Case to the Regular Criminal Docket is an Appealable Final Judgment. The juvenile defendant was charged with committing a class D felony and two unclassified felonies when he was sixteen years old. Pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-127 (b), the state moved for a discretionary transfer of the case from the docket for juvenile matters to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court. Section 46b-127 (b) prohibits the transfer of a case unless the court finds, among other things, that the best interests of the child and the public will not be served by maintaining the case in juvenile court. After a hearing, the court granted the state’s motion. Thereafter, the defendant appealed to the Appellate Court, claiming that the court’s “best interests” determination was improper. The Appellate Court, sua sponte, ordered a hearing on whether the appeal should be dismissed for lack of a final judgment, citing In re Michael S., 258 Conn. 621 (2001), and In re Juvenile Appeal (85-AB), 195 Conn. 303 (1985). Those cases held that transfer orders were not appealable final judgments. After the hearing, the court dismissed the appeal. The Supreme Court has granted certification to review the Appellate Court’s judgment of dismissal. The defendant, noting that the juvenile transfer statute has gone through multiple revisions, contends that an analysis of the legislative history and the language of the current statute, read as a whole, indicates that the legislature intended that an immediate appeal could be taken from a discretionary juvenile transfer order. He further argues that even if interlocutory appeals from such orders were not intended, the holding of In re Juvenile Appeal (85-AB) should be revisited in light of the current knowledge and jurisprudence demonstrating that sixteen and seventeen year olds, despite their physical maturity, are still children and should therefore remain within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Finally, the defendant contends that transfer orders should be deemed immediately appealable under State v. Curcio because, barring an interlocutory appeal, the detention of adolescents in facilities that do not provide age-appropriate services would cause them irreparable harm.