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 Supreme and Appellate Court Slip Opinions

by Roy, Christopher


SC20671 - In re Amias I. ("The respondent mother, Jennifer S., appeals from the judgments of the trial court rendered in favor of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, terminating her parental rights as to her three children, Anaya I., Amias I., and Adelyn I., due to her failure to achieve a sufficient degree of personal rehabilitation that would encourage the belief that, within a reasonable time, considering the ages and needs of her children, she could assume a responsible role in their lives. The respondent claims that, in addition to their statutory right to conflict free counsel established by the legislature in General Statutes § 46b-129a (2) (A), this court should hold that her children also had a procedural due process right to such counsel under the state and federal constitutions, and that the trial court violated this right by failing to inquire into whether the attorney appointed to represent them, Dana E. Clark, had a conflict of interest due to the children's conflicting goals regarding reunification. Alternatively, the respondent seeks reversal of the judgments pursuant to the plain error doctrine. We conclude that we need not decide whether the respondent's children had a constitutional—as opposed to only a statutory—right to conflict free counsel because, even if they did, it is apparent that any violation of such a right was harmless error. We also decline the respondent's request to apply the plain error doctrine. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.")

AC44814 - In re Alizabeth L.-T. ("The respondent father, Benjamin L., appeals from the judgments of the trial court sustaining ex parte orders granting temporary custody of his minor children, Alizabeth L.-T., Tanisha L., and Alyson L.-T., to the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families. The respondent father raises several evidentiary claims on appeal, including that, at the contested hearing, the court improperly (1) admitted certain hearsay statements of the children under a statutory exception to the hearsay rule codified in General Statutes § 46b-129 (g), and (2) admitted hearsay statements made by Alizabeth during a forensic interview under the medical diagnosis or treatment exception to the hearsay rule. See Conn. Code Evid. § 8-3 (5). We agree with both claims and conclude that these evidentiary errors, considered together, were not harmless because, without the improperly admitted hearsay testimony and exhibits, it is likely that the outcome of the hearing would have been different. Accordingly, we reverse the judgments of the court and remand the case for a new contested hearing.")