Kansas Court of Appeals
CHILD IN NEED OF CARE
IN RE D.H.
ELLIS DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 121,131—OCTOBER 18, 2019
FACTS: D.H. was born in December 2007. Mother and Father were not married and their relationship ended soon after D.H. was born. When D.H. was an infant, the State alleged that D.H. was a child in need of care. In a companion paternity case, Father's paternity was legally established. Father used that paternity case to seek residency and parenting time decisions for D.H. After a hearing, Father was given primary residency of D.H., with Mother having parenting time once per week. Soon after this hearing, Mother moved out of state. She delivered a son shortly after that, who was later diagnosed with autism. Mother sought and received services for this child, and also sought and received financial and residential stability for herself. For the next six years, Mother spoke on the phone with D.H., but did not actually visit in person. Mother finally had a personal visit with D.H. in 2017. Father died by suicide in 2018. Because of his death, D.H. was placed in protective custody and later sent to live with her paternal grandfather. The State filed a CINC petition. Mother traveled to personally appear at the temporary custody hearing. After hearing evidence, the district court found that D.H. was a CINC because Mother abandoned her. Mother appealed.
ISSUES: (1) Relevant time period; (2) sufficiency of the evidence
HELD: The district court found that Mother abandoned D.H. in 2009, meaning that D.H. was without adequate parental control at the time of the CINC hearing. The plain language of the statute does not require the district court to make its adjudication decision based only on the circumstances that exist on the day of the adjudication hearing. Rather, the district court's decision should be guided by the temporal language used in the relevant statutory subsection that is being considered. There was insufficient evidence presented that D.H. was in need of care.
STATUTE: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 38-2202, -2202(a), -2202(d), -2250, -2251
JURY INSTRUCTIONS—SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS
IN RE CARE AND TREATMENT OF QUILLEN
JOHNSON DISTRICT COURT—VACATED AND REMANDED
NO. 120,184—OCTOBER 18, 2019
FACTS: Richard Quillen was committed as a sexually violent predator in 2006. As part of his civil commitment, Quillen was entitled to an annual review hearing. In 2013, Quillen asked for a jury trial when he challenged the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services' recommendation that he remain in custody. That request was granted, and after a hearing the jury found that the State met its burden to prove that Quillen did not meet the criteria for transitional release. Quillen sought a new trial, claiming the district court violated his due process rights by failing to instruct the jury on "serious difficulty controlling behavior" as a separate element that the State must prove. The district court denied the motion and Quillen appealed.
ISSUE: (1) Jury instructions
HELD: Quillen questioned whether the elements required to prove a committed person is not safe to be sent to transitional release are the same as those required to initially commit an individual. They are. Despite statutory changes and a consent decree, Quillen correctly notes that the State is constitutionally required to prove that Quillen would have serious difficulty controlling his behavior if transitionally released. The district court erred by not adding that essential element to the jury instructions, and the error was prejudicial. Quillen is entitled to a new trial.
STATUTE: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 59-29a02(a), -29a07(a), -29a08, -29a08(a), -29a08(c), -29a08(d), -29a08(g)