Juvenile Justice Case Law – Cases Regarding Placement

In re: K.M., 2017 WL 2229977 (Filed May 22, 2017)(unpublished opinion)

Standard of Review:    Abuse of Discretion

The Court held K.M.’s placement at an out-of-state facility was legally justified by the lower court and supported by sufficient findings of fact.  The lower court adjudicated K.M. delinquent for incest.  At the disposition hearing, the lower court placed K.M. into an out-of-state facility.  Specifically, the lower court examined K.M.’s treatment history and family situation/support, along with other relevant factors, and concluded non-compliance with treatment, including failing to complete in-state residential treatment, and a lack of family support strongly supported the need to place K.M. at a facility out-of-state.  The Court found the lower court’s reasoning logical and sufficient to meet the legal standard (abuse of discretion).

In re M.N., 2017 WL 4611232 (Filed September 6, 2016)(unpublished opinion)

Standard of Review:    Abuse of Discretion

The Court found the lower court’s placement decision was appropriate and justified.  The lower court adjudicated M.N. as delinquent for battery as she threw a brick at an adult and caused that adult to be in a coma for two weeks.  At her disposition, the State recommended M.N. be placed in a Level III facility while M.N. offered the alternative of placement with her aunt, a less restrictive alternative.  M.N. stressed she was a first-time offender and deserved a less restrictive placement.  The lower court placed M.N. at a Level III facility and M.N. challenged this decision.  According to the Court, the adjudicated child failed to present sufficient evidence and legal argument to support placement at the identified alternative placement.  The Court explained the child would have had to present evidence that placement in the aunt’s home was appropriate, although the Court did not state what that evidence should be.  The lower court had considered DHHR’s recommendation, Juvenile Probation’s recommendation, and the recommendations in the psychological evaluation.

In re J.W., 2017 WL 2229991 (Filed May 22, 2017)(unpublished opinion)

Standard of Review:    Abuse of Discretion

Petitioner, J.W., asserted the court’s disposition ordering him to an in-state residential treatment facility was arbitrary and capricious and that the court failed to consider less-restrictive alternatives.  The lower court adjudicated J.W. as delinquent pursuant to the jury’s findings J.W. was responsible for breaking and entering, petit larceny and two counts of conspiracy.  The lower court placed J.W. in the custody of the Division of Juvenile Services, however, J.W. requested he either be placed with one of his parents or at an out-of-state DHHR placement designed to meet his specific needs for purposes of disposition.  The Court concluded the trial court had reached the appropriate legal decision on disposition as the trial court reviewed all the relevant factors, including the child’s risk level and the child’s treatment needs.  The Court further concluded the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding the out-of-state placement recommended by petitioner was unnecessary because an in-state facility could meet petitioner’s specific treatment needs.

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