In Re Jarelle G.

In Re Jarelle G.

133 Conn. App. 244
Juvenile Justice
Appellate Court
2012

In this juvenile justice case, the respondent Jarelle G. sought appellate review of the trial court’s holding which pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-141(b), extended his delinquency commitment to the custody of the petitioner commissioner of children and families for a supplementary 18 months. Jarelle argued to the Appellate Court that Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-141(b) was unconstitutional under the void for vagueness doctrine. The appellate court declined to review Jarelle’s claim because he did not reserve his constitutional claim at trial nor did he declare his right to appellate review in his main brief to the appellate court.

The brief facts of the case are, in 2009 the respondent was charged with possession of narcotics, sale of illegal drugs, possession of narcotics within 1500 feet of a school, sale of narcotics within 1500 feet of a school and interfering with an officer. The court committed him to a juvenile facility in November of 2009 and he remained in the custody of the commissioner of DCF (“Commissioner”) until he was placed on parole status and released to the custody of his mother in January, 2011. Within two months Jarelle had repeatedly violated his parole, consisting of leaving his mother’s home without permission and testing positive for marijuana. The respondent was readmitted to a juvenile facility at the end of March for approximately one week, after which he was once more placed on parole status and released to the custody of his mother. He again continued to violate the conditions of his parole. In April of 2011, the Commissioner filed a motion for an extension of the respondent’s delinquency commitment for a supplementary eighteen months. The juvenile court granted the motion one month later pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-141(b), which gives DCF the ability to request that the court extend the commitment of a delinquent juvenile if the evidence demonstrates that it is in the best interest of the child and community.

On appeal, the respondent argued that §46b-141(b) is unconstitutional under the void for vagueness doctrine because the statute “failed to provide adequate notice to him of what conduct was prohibited and the best interest standard created an arbitrary and discriminatory extension of his delinquency commitment.” Though a valid argument, the court indicated that the fact that the respondent failed to raise this claim before the trial court precluded him from raising it on appeal. The exception in this case, however, was grounded in the seminal case of State v. Golding, 213 Conn. 233 (1989), which allows criminal defendants to raise constitutional claims on appeal in their main appellate brief.

Here, the respondent first requested review in his reply brief and made no mention of it in his main brief. Therefore following well-settled law, because the respondent failed to request review of his unpreserved constitutional claim in his main brief, his review was subsequently declined by the appellate court.

(2/2012) Emma Goldberg, law student intern.

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