May 27, 2018

Colorado Supreme Court: Dismissal of Single Parent from Dependency and Neglect Proceeding Not Final Appealable Order

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People in Interest of R.S. on Monday, April 30, 2018.

Children’s Code—Dependency or Neglect Proceedings—Appeals.

In this dependency or neglect case, the trial court held a single adjudicatory trial to determine the dependent or neglected status of the child. The judge served as fact-finder with respect to allegations against mother, and a jury sat as fact-finder with respect to the allegations against father. The judge ultimately concluded that the child was dependent or neglected “in regard to” mother. In contrast, the jury concluded there was insufficient factual basis to support a finding that the child was dependent or neglected. In light of these divergent findings, the trial court adjudicated the child dependent or neglected and continued to exercise jurisdiction over the child and mother, but entered an order dismissing father from the petition. The People appealed the jury’s verdict regarding the father.

The court of appeals dismissed the People’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction, reasoning that the dismissal of a single parent from a petition in dependency or neglect based on a jury verdict is not a final appealable order because neither the appellate rule nor the statutory provision governing appeals from proceedings in dependency or neglect expressly permits an appeal from a “‘no adjudication’ finding.”

The supreme court concluded that, with limited exceptions not relevant here, section 19-1-109(1) of the Colorado Children’s Code authorizes appeals in dependency or neglect proceedings from “any order” that qualifies as a “final judgment” for purposes of C.R.S. § 13-4-102(1). Because the trial court’s order dismissing father from the petition was not a “final judgment,” the court concluded that the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction and properly dismissed the Department of Human Services’ appeal.

The court of appeals’ dismissal was affirmed.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Criminal Code Not Applicable in Juvenile Proceedings Except as Provided in Children’s Code

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re People in Interest of A.A. on Tuesday, November 12, 2013.

Colorado Code of Criminal Procedure—Colorado Children’s Code.

The People petitioned pursuant to CAR 21 for relief from an in limine ruling of the juvenile court allowing the introduction of testimony by the juvenile’s psychological expert without regard for the court-ordered examination mandated by CRS § 16-8-107. The juvenile court reasoned that in the absence of any provision of the Criminal Procedure Code specifying otherwise, the requirements of CRS § 16-8-107 did not apply to delinquency proceedings.

The Supreme Court approved the ruling of the juvenile court and discharged its rule to show cause. Because the Colorado Code of Criminal Procedure expressly provides that it will not apply to proceedings under the Colorado Children’s Code except as specifically set forth in the Criminal Procedure Code itself, and because no provision of the Criminal Procedure Code suggests that § 16-8-107 was intended to apply to proceedings under the Children’s Code, the Court found that the court-ordered examination in question cannot apply to delinquency proceedings.

Summary and full case available here.