In Re: Jeffrey M.
Issue On Court's Power To Place Juveniles Out Of State Was Moot
Civil Procedure | Jurisdiction and Service of Process | Criminal Law | Family Law
- Connecticut Supreme Court
- Connecticut Supreme Court
- SC 18959
- Jan 29 2013 (Date Decided)
- Eveleigh, J.
The legislature's most recent amendment to C.G.S. §46b-140, along with the clear statement of legislative intent that accompanied its enactment, firmly establishes that C.G.S. §46b-140(f) does not authorize the Superior Court to order the direct placement of a child committed to the Department of Children and Families in an out-of-state residential facility. 15-year-old Jeffrey M. entered a plea of guilty to robbery in the second degree. The court found Jeffrey to be delinquent and ordered him committed to the department and placed directly at the Glenn Mills School, a residential facility in Pennsylvania. The court denied the department's motion to intervene and to modify the order which argued that the order may cause Connecticut to violate the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, C.G.S. §17a-175, and the Interstate Compact for Juveniles, C.G.S. §46b-151h, and may exceed the court's placement authority under C.G.S. §46b-140. The department appealed. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment concluding that C.G.S. §46b-140 does not give the Superior Court authority to place a juvenile in an out-of-state facility. Jeffrey M. appealed. The primary issue was whether C.G.S. §46b-140 permits the Superior Court to order the direct placement of a child committed to the department in an out-of-state facility. While the appeal was pending, the trial court modified Jeffrey M.'s probation to permit his return to Connecticut from the Glenn Mills School. Further, the legislature amended C.G.S. §46b-140(b), repealed that amendment and, then, amended C.G.S. §§46b-140(f) and (j). After the latter amendment, the department, which previously had agreed with Jeffrey M. that his claim fell within the capable of repetition, yet evading review exception to the mootness doctrine, asserted that the exception no longer applied. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal as moot and not capable of repetition, yet evading review. The legislature's most recent amendment to C.G.S. §46b-140, along with the clear statement of legislative intent that accompanied its enactment, firmly established that C.G.S. §46b-140(f) does not authorize the Superior Court to order the direct placement of a child committed to the department in an out-of-state residential facility. The amendment took effect immediately upon signature by the governor and clarified the authority of the Superior Court. The certified question was no longer a matter of "public importance."