June 29, 2022
In re Madison C. et al. (AC 44926)
Mother, whose parental rights as to her children previously had been terminated, appealed the trial court’s judgment granting DCF’s motion to strike her petition for a new trial. In her petition, Mother made allegations that she claimed constituted newly discovered evidence that, if known during the pendency of her TPR trial, would have affected the outcome. Specifically, such evidence included that the court had approved permanency plans following the TPR trial that sought to reunite the children with Father and that, following her release from prison after trial, she had achieved a degree of personal rehabilitation sufficient to encourage the belief that she could resume a responsible position in the children’s lives. The trial court concluded that Mother had failed to plead sufficient facts for a new trial pursuant to statute (§ 52-270).
On appeal, this Court held that the trial court properly granted the motion to strike the petition for a new trial, as it failed to state a claim on which relief could be granted. Mother’s allegations in her petition did not constitute “newly discovered evidence,” as the court’s orders approving new permanency plans were entered well after the TPR trial had ended and judgment had been rendered terminating Mother’s parental rights. Thus, they were not facts that existed at the time of her trial. Additionally, Mother’s allegation that she had achieved a degree of personal rehabilitation sufficient to encourage the belief that she could resume a responsible position in her children’s lives also concerned events that occurred after her trial and were but a change in circumstances. Evidence in support of facts or events that did not exist or had not yet occurred at the time of trial is not, and cannot, be newly discovered.