The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.
Juvenile Law

Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4329

AC44186 - In re Miyuki M. (“On appeal, the respondent claims that (1) the court’s failure to canvass her regarding her written stipulation of facts violates her right to due process under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution, constitutes plain error, and requires the exercise of our supervisory authority, and (2) the court erred in denying her motion to transfer guardianship of her child to the child’s maternal grandmother. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4326

AC44060 - In re Phoenix A. (Reasonable efforts prong of § 17a-112 (j) (1); claim of failure to achieve a sufficient degree of personal rehabilitation; “On appeal, the respondent claims that the court erred by (1) finding that he was unable or unwilling to benefit from reunification services, (2) finding that he had failed to achieve a sufficient degree of personal rehabilitation, and (3) determining that termination of his parental rights was in the best interest of Phoenix. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4318

AC44079 - In re Kameron N.. (Termination of rights; “…whether the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (tribe) received proper notice, pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), 25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq., of the termination of parental rights proceedings involving the child, who is enrollable as a member of the tribe. We reject the claim of the respondent that the tribe did not receive adequate notice of the termination proceedings and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC44086 - In re Kameron N. (“On appeal, she claims that (1) the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (tribe) did not receive proper notice, pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), 25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq., of the termination of parental rights proceedings involving the child, who is enrollable as a member of the tribe, (2) the trial court erred in denying her motion to open the evidence ‘‘for the purpose of introducing new evidence, which was discovered after the close of evidence, regarding placement of the child,’’ and (3) the trial court erred in finding that termination was in the child’s best interest. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4304

AC43892 - In re Marcquan C. (Motion to revoke commitment; "The respondent mother, Monica C., appeals from the trial court's order requiring her to participate in a psychological evaluation. The court ordered the evaluation immediately after it denied the respondent's motion to revoke commitment with respect to her minor child, Marcquan C. The respondent does not challenge on appeal the judgment denying her motion to revoke commitment. Her appeal is limited to her claim that the court abused its discretion by compelling her to participate in the psychological evaluation. We do not reach the respondent's claim because we agree with the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, that the order for a psychological evaluation was not part of the court's judgment denying the respondent's motion to revoke commitment and is not otherwise an appealable final judgment. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.")


Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4282

AC44096 - In re Josiah D. (“On appeal, the father does not challenge the trial court’s findings and conclusions but claims that (1) the court committed reversible error by failing to notify him that it would be drawing an adverse inference from his decision not to testify in accordance with Practice Book § 35a-7A and In re Samantha C., 268 Conn. 614, 847 A.2d 883 (2004), and (2) this court should exercise its supervisory authority to adopt a canvass requiring the trial court to notify the father that the court would draw an adverse inference upon his decision not to testify. The petitioner counters that the court properly notified the father in accordance with Practice Book § 35a-7A, but if this court determines that the court’s notice was improper, the error was harmless, as it did not adversely affect the outcome of the trial. We conclude that the court properly notified the father that it may draw an adverse inference from his decision not to testify and decline the father’s invitation to exercise our supervisory authority to require any notice beyond what is required by Practice Book § 35a-7A. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


Habeas Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4279

SC20281 - Ross v. Commissioner of Correction (“The petitioner claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the doctrine of collateral estoppel barred him from litigating the issue of whether he was prejudiced by his trial counsel’s failure to object to the improper comments of the prosecutor during closing argument at his criminal trial. The respondent, the Commissioner of Correction, argues that the Appellate Court correctly held that the doctrine precluded the petitioner from litigating the issue of prejudice. In the alternative, the respondent contends that the judgment of the Appellate Court may be affirmed on the basis that the petitioner has failed to demonstrate that he suffered prejudice from his criminal trial counsel’s allegedly deficient performance. Although we conclude that the doctrine of collateral estoppel does not apply under the circumstances of the present case, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court on the ground that the petitioner has failed to demonstrate prejudice.”)


Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4269

AC44120 - In re November H. (Connecticut General Statute § 17a-112 (j) (3); whether father lacked normal and healthy parent-child bond with child; “On appeal, the respondent claims that (1) the court made internally inconsistent statements regarding his parent-child relationship with November, (2) there was insufficient evidence supporting the court’s determination that he failed to sufficiently rehabilitate, (3) as a matter of law, the court, in terminating his parental rights, improperly relied on its finding that additional time was necessary for him and November to develop a ‘‘normal and healthy’’ parent-child relationship when the petitioner and November’s mother, Natachia G., interfered with his ability to develop such a relationship, and (4) the court improperly compared him to November’s foster parent in the adjudicatory part of its decision. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4233

AC44072 - In re Ja'La L. ("The respondent, Shanea L., appeals from the judgments of the trial court rendered in favor of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, terminating her parental rights with respect to her daughters, Ja'La L. and Ja'Myiaha L., on the ground that the respondent has failed to achieve a sufficient degree of personal rehabilitation pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (B) (i). On appeal, the respondent concedes that the evidence was sufficient to prove an adjudicatory ground, but claims that the court improperly concluded that termination was in the best interests of the children. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")

AC44006 - In re Miracle C. ("The respondent mother, Priscilla W., appeals from the judgment of the trial court terminating her parental rights with respect to her minor child, M. On appeal, she claims that the court erroneously concluded that the Department of Children and Families (department) had made reasonable efforts at reunification, pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (1). The respondent does not claim that the court erred in its additional conclusion that she was unable or unwilling to benefit from reunification efforts. Because the respondent challenges only one of the two bases for the court's determination that § 17a-112 (j) (1) had been satisfied, we conclude that the respondent's appeal is moot. . . .The appeal is dismissed.")


Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4225

AC43710 - In re Ja'maire M (“On appeal, the respondent claims that, in terminating his parental rights, the trial court improperly relied on a finding that the child was neglected, which was made at a previous proceeding at which the respondent was not present. Because the respondent’s appeal constitutes an impermissible collateral attack on the neglect judgment, we affirm the judgment of the trial court terminating his parental rights.”)


Juvenile Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4219

AC43883 - In re D'Andre T. (Termination of parental rights on the grounds of failure to achieve a sufficient degree of personal rehabilitation pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (B) (i). "On appeal, the respondent does not challenge the underlying factual findings of the trial court but claims that the court denied her a fundamentally fair proceeding by treating her motion to transfer guardianship to her sister, Carmen B., with less regard than the petitions to terminate her parental rights. The respondent urges us to use our supervisory authority over the administration of justice to reverse the judgments terminating her parental rights and denying her motion to transfer guardianship, to award her a new trial, and to obligate the trial court to apply a new procedural rule that would require the Superior Court to make certain written findings in all cases in which a court is considering a transfer of guardianship motion and a petition to terminate parental rights concurrently. We decline to exercise our supervisory authority, and, accordingly, affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Slip Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4201

AC43721 - In re Madison C. (The respondent mother, Patricia K., appeals from the judgments of the trial court rendered in favor of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, terminating her parental rights with respect to each of her three minor children on the ground that the respondent failed to achieve a sufficient degree of personal rehabilitation pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (B) (i). On appeal, the respondent claims that the court deprived her of her substantive due process rights as guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution because termination of her parental rights was not the least restrictive means necessary to ensure the state’s compelling interest in protecting the best interests of the children. As part of her claim, the respondent further asserts that the record disclosed that narrower means other than termination were available to protect the children from harm and afford them statutory permanency. We conclude that the record was inadequate to review the respondent’s constitutional claim, and, accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4109

SC20465 - In re Ava W. (Termination of Parental Rights; Posttermination Visitation; "In this certified appeal, we must decide whether a trial court has the legal authority to order posttermination visitation between a parent and the parent's minor child at the time the court considers termination of parental rights pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j). The respondent, Kiarah P., challenges the trial court's determination that it lacked authority to order visitation between her and her minor daughter, Ava W., upon ordering termination of the respondent's parental rights. The respondent claims that the trial court should have considered her request for posttermination visitation under its broad authority to enter "any order," pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-121 (b) (1), so long as the order serves the best interest of the child.

In response, the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, makes three arguments: (1) the respondent lacks standing to challenge the trial court's order regarding visitation because the court terminated her parental rights; (2) the trial court correctly determined that, as a matter of law, it lacked the authority to issue an order for posttermination contact; and (3) even if the trial court had the authority to order posttermination visitation, it correctly determined that posttermination visitation would not be in the child's best interest.

We agree with the respondent that the jurisdictional hurdles of aggrievement and mootness have been satisfied and do not defeat this court's subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate this appeal. We also agree with the respondent that a trial court has authority to issue a posttermination visitation order that is requested within the context of a termination proceeding, so long as it is necessary or appropriate to secure the welfare, protection, proper care and suitable support of the child. That authority derives from the court's broad common-law authority over juvenile matters and the legislature's enactment of § 46b-121 (b) (1) codifying that authority. The trial court in the present case incorrectly determined that it lacked authority to consider a posttermination visitation order on the basis of the respondent's failure to satisfy the statutory requirements of § 17a-112 (b) through (h). Section 17a-112 (b) governs "cooperative postadoption agreement[s]" under which parents voluntarily relinquish their parental rights and intended adoptive parents willingly enter into a postadoption contact agreement. The present case does not fall within that category of circumstances, and the respondent's failure to satisfy those requirements did not deprive the trial court of authority to consider posttermination visitation pursuant to its broad authority under § 46b-121 (b) (1). Therefore, the trial court incorrectly determined that it lacked authority to evaluate whether posttermination visitation would be necessary or appropriate to secure the welfare, protection, proper care and suitable support of the child. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's order denying request of the minor child and the respondent mother for posttermination visitation with the respondent and remand the case with direction to consider the request consistent with the standard we now establish. Specifically, trial courts have authority pursuant to § 46b-121 (b) (1) to consider motions for posttermination visitation within the context of a termination proceeding and can order such visitation if necessary or appropriate to secure the welfare, protection, proper care and suitable support of the child.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4101

AC43680 - In re Aisjaha N. (Neglect; "The sole issue in this appeal is whether the court, Hon. John Turner, judge trial referee, erroneously denied the respondent mother’s motion for a continuance during a trial in which her daughter, Aisjaha N. (child), was adjudicated neglected.The oral motion, made by counsel for the respondent mother at the start of the hearing, was based on her alleged emergency hospitalization at the time of the hearing. The court denied the motion and the neglect hearing proceeded without the respondent mother present. The court found that the child was neglected and committed her to the care of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families. This appeal followed.In her appeal, the respondent mother argues that the trial court violated her due process rights under the fifth amendment to the United States constitution by denying her motion for a continuance of the petitioner’s neglect petition. The petitioner argues that the court properly denied her motion for a continuance and that the respondent mother’s due process rights were not implicated. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4086

SC20234 - In re Zakai F. (Whether Parent Who Temporarily Relinquished Custody and Seeks Reinstatement of Guardianship Rights Entitled to Constitutional Presumption that Reinstatement is in Child's Best Interest. "In this certified appeal, we must determine whether there is a constitutional presumption that reinstatement of guardianship rights to a parent under General Statutes § 45a-611 is in the best interests of the child and, if so, whether a heightened standard of proof is required to rebut that presumption. The respondent mother, Kristi F., appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which affirmed the trial court's denial of her motion for reinstatement of guardianship rights with respect to her minor son, Zakai F., on the basis that reinstatement was not in Zakai's best interests. See In re Zakai F., 185 Conn. App. 752, 755, 776–77, 198 A.3d 135 (2018). On appeal, the respondent contends that she is entitled to a presumption that reinstatement is in the best interests of the child and that she is also entitled to a heightened standard of proof.

We conclude that, under § 45a-611, once a parent demonstrates that the factors that resulted in the removal of the parent as guardian have been resolved satisfactorily, the parent is entitled to a presumption that reinstatement of guardianship rights is in the best interests of the child. We also conclude that the party opposing reinstatement must rebut this presumption by clear and convincing evidence. In the present case, because it is unclear whether the trial court applied this presumption, and because it did not determine that the petitioner had rebutted that presumption by clear and convincing evidence, we conclude that the trial court improperly denied the respondent's motion for reinstatement of guardianship. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4039

SC20245 - In re Teagan K.-O. ("This case requires us to consider whether a Connecticut trial court has subject matter jurisdiction over a petition to adjudicate a newborn child neglected on the basis of "predictive neglect" when the parents relocated to another state shortly before the child's birth, purportedly with no intention of returning, and that state determined that Connecticut would be a more convenient forum to adjudicate this matter. The respondent father appeals from the trial court's decision denying his motion to dismiss the petition filed by the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, to adjudicate the respondents' child, Teagan K.-O., neglected. The father contends that, irrespective of the fact that a petition to terminate the respondents' parental rights with respect to another child of theirs was pending in Connecticut when they relocated to Florida, a Connecticut trial court cannot exercise subject matter jurisdiction over Teagan's neglect petition because any neglect of her would never occur in this state. The commissioner contends that the determination by a Florida court that this state would be a more appropriate forum provided a proper basis for the Connecticut trial court's subject matter jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which has been adopted by both states. See General Statutes §§ 46b-115 through 46b-115gg; Fla. Stat. Ann. § 61.501 et seq. (West 2012). We agree with the father's jurisdictional argument. The trial court, therefore, improperly denied his motion to dismiss the neglect petition.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4018

AC43478 - In re Corey C. (Termination of parental rights; whether Department of Children and Families made reasonable efforts to reunify respondent father with minor child; "The respondent, Corey C., appeals from the judgment of the trial court terminating his parental rights with respect to his biological minor son, Corey C., Jr., pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (B) (i). The respondent claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that the Department of Children and Families (department) made reasonable efforts to reunify him with Corey and that he was unable or unwilling to benefit from the department's reunification efforts, (2) concluded that he failed to achieve such a degree of personal rehabilitation as would encourage the belief that, within a reasonable time, considering Corey's age and needs, the respondent could assume a responsible position in Corey's life, and (3) compared his suitability as a parent, and that of Corey's biological mother, to that of Corey's foster parent during the adjudicatory phase of the termination proceeding. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4003

AC43251 - In re Omar I. ("The self-represented respondent father, Ammar A. I. appeals from the judgments of the trial court terminating his parental rights pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (B) (i) as to three of his biological minor children, the petitioners, Omar, Safiyah, and Muneer (children), and denying his motion to revoke the court's order committing the children to the care, custody, and guardianship of the Commissioner of Children and Families (commissioner). The respondent claims that (1) judicial bias deprived him of a fair trial, (2) the court improperly found that he failed to achieve such a degree of personal rehabilitation as would encourage the belief that, within a reasonable period of time, considering the ages and needs of the children, he could assume a responsible position in the children's lives, (3) the court improperly found that the termination of his parental rights was in the children's best interests, (4) the court improperly found that the Department of Children and Families (department) made reasonable efforts to reunify him with his children, (5) the department was estopped from supporting the petitions brought by the children to terminate his parental rights, and (6) the court improperly denied his motion to revoke the court's order that committed the children to the care and custody of the commissioner. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3904

AC42961, AC42962, AC42963, AC42964 - In re Gabriel C. (Termination of parental rights; motion to disqualify counsel acting as minor child’s GAL on ground that attorney was previously mother’s GAL; “On appeal, the respondent claims that the court improperly failed to order, sua sponte, an evaluation of her competency to assist her counsel at trial, in violation of her due process rights under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution. We affirm the judgment of the court.”)


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3891

AC43066 - In re Geoffrey G. (Termination of parental rights; review sought under State v. Golding, 213 Conn. 233, 239–40, 567 A.2d 823 (1989), as modified by In re Yasiel R., 317 Conn. 773, 781, 120 A.3d 1188 (2015); "On appeal, the respondent claims that the court improperly failed to order, sua sponte, an evaluation of her competency to assist her counsel at trial, in violation of her due process rights under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution. We affirm the judgment of the court")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Penn, Michele

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3853

    • AC43032 - In re Brian P. ("As the trial court aptly observed, "[t]his is another sad case involving opiates and their invidious harm to parents' lives and families." The respondents, Jennifer L. (mother) and Brian P. (father), appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, terminating their parental rights with respect to the minor child, Brian P. On appeal, the respondents claim that the court improperly (1) found that they had failed to achieve a sufficient degree of personal rehabilitation, (2) failed to determine the needs of Brian P. before deciding whether they had failed to rehabilitate, and (3) found that termination of their parental rights was in the best interest of Brian P. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")
    • AC43119 - In re Brian P. ("The paternal grandmother of the minor child and proposed intervenor, Susan P., appeals from the denial of her motion to intervene, which was filed following the judgment of the trial court granting the petition of the Commissioner of Children and Families (commissioner) to terminate the parental rights of Brian P. (father) and Jennifer L. (mother) with respect to the minor child, Brian P. We conclude that we lack subject matter jurisdiction and, accordingly, dismiss the appeal.")
    • AC43119 - In re Walker C. ("The respondent mother appeals from the judgment of the trial court terminating her parental rights with respect to her minor child, Walker C. III (child).In the termination of parental rights petition, the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families (commissioner), alleged that the respondent had failed to achieve such degree of personal rehabilitation as would encourage the belief that within a reasonable time, considering the age and needs of the child, she could assume a responsible position in the life of the child pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (B) (i). On appeal, the respondent claims that (1) the court's finding that the child's attorney argued in favor of the termination of the respondent's parental rights is clearly erroneous, (2) the court's error was not harmless because there was insufficient evidence tending to support termination of parental rights over permanent transfer of guardianship, and (3) there was considerable evidence tending to show that a permanent transfer of guardianship was in the child's best interest.We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


              1 2 3 4