March 31, 2021

In Re Riley B. (AC 43959)

TPR, Constitutional Claim

Takeaway: In order to make a constitutional claim in regards to substantive due process and less restrictive alternatives, the issue needs to be preserved at trial via evidence of such.

Mother appealed the judgment terminating her parental rights. After DCF had filed the petition to terminate her parental rights, she filed a motion to transfer guardianship to a maternal relative in New Jersey. The motion was consolidated for trial with the TPR petition. The court terminated Mother’s parental rights and denied her motion to transfer guardianship. On appeal, Mother claimed that the court deprived her of her right to substantive due process because there was no compelling reason to sever her liberty interest in the integrity of her family while the parties waited to learn whether guardianship could be transferred, which was a less restrictive alternative to the termination of her parental rights.

The Appellate Court declined to review Mother’s unpreserved constitutional claim because it failed to satisfy the first prong of State v. Golding (213 Conn. 233), as the record was devoid of any evidence that the maternal relative was amenable to guardianship, the primary factual predicate to Mother’s claim.