In re Carlos Q.

CT Appellate Division

62 Conn. App. 681 (2001)

April 10, 2001


This case represents the second Connecticut appellate decision issued in 2001 involving
the Department of Children and Families’ (“DCF”) attempt to extend the
commitment of a juvenile offender beyond the initial eighteen month period (see In
re Jason C. and In re Greily L. in Kidscounsel case library). Here, the
appellate court tackled the issue of whether the statutory notice requirement for an
extension of a juvenile’s commitment to DCF’s custody is mandatory or
permissive. Carlos Q., a juvenile, was convicted as a delinquent on July 23, 1998,
following his pleas of guilty to sexual assault charges. The Superior Court remanded him
into the custody of DCF for a period not to exceed eighteen months. Nine days before the
commitment was set to expire, DCF filed a petition to extend the commitment – without
providing notice to either the juvenile or his parents.

The issue on appeal was whether the notice requirement of Conn. Gen. Stat. §
17a-10(d), requiring DCF to petition the court for an extension of commitment at time
“not more than sixty days nor less than thirty days” prior to the expiration of
the original commitment of the child, was permissive or mandatory. The court found that
because § 17a-10(d) incorporated Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46(b)-141(b), which provides that
DCF “shall” provide at least fourteen days notice prior to a hearing for such an
extension of a commitment, DCF was required to provide notice within the thirty day window
period if they chose to extend the commitment at all. Failure to do so placed the statute
(§ 17a-10(d)) in constitutional jeopardy, creating an unacceptable due process violation.
The court also distinguished In re Adrien C., 9 Conn. App. 512 (1987) on the ground
that the Adrien C. court did not take into consideration the due process
implications of § 46b-129, the notice requirement statute at issue in that case.

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