Yes, that's what happens when you go on hiatus and then go on vacation - you get used to NOT doing things. Tryin' to get my groove back of posting legal analysis at least once a day. August is generally one long blur of days and I love it. But, back to business ...
The first case is ... a mess. I've read it now a good seven times and it still makes no sense to me (unless you remove footnote 2). It involves an interesting twist where a "child", upon reaching the age of 18, nevertheless consents to continued placement in foster care, thereby resulting in the "child's" parent being placed under an Order of Supervision through DSS. Most parents might wonder where the hell Family Court gets the jurisdiction to entertain this case, since the "child" has now aged-out at 18. Well, Family Court will have jurisdiction until the "child" ages-out of placement at 21 or otherwise leaves placement, on consent, before reaching 21. Surprise! In any event, Family Court jurisdiction would normally cease when the subject "child" attains the age of 21.
However, this first case raises a seemingly novel question: can Family Court enforce an Order of Supervision against a parent of a child who is 18 or older and who has consented to a continuation of placement in foster care? For years, I've thought the answer to that question was "of course!" Now, I am no longer so sure (thanks to footnote 2!). The answer seems to be "maybe" - so long as it does not also include jail (?). Yet the decision never directs the practitioner to the statute or caselaw wherein the rationale for this decision allegedly resides. In other words, this decision is useless.
This has to be one of the most poorly-drafted decisions I have read in many months from the Third Department.
The second case is what is known as a "hard case". Trial judges generally hate "hard cases" because no matter how Solomonic they inevitably try to be, it is almost guaranteed that the "losing" party is going to appeal the decision, as happened here. Judges truly earn their pay on cases like this, because it requires all of the judge's intellectual faculties to craft a just result. "Hard cases" are psychologically stressful cases. Nevertheless, I think most judges rise to the challenge and deliver not only just decisions but compassionate ones as well, as here.
Check out the website and find "Fees" on the right of the upper navigation bar. Click "Fees" and scroll down to "12Q: Do you handle appeals and, if so, how much do you charge?" I am certain that you will discover that my rates are very hard to beat. Give me a call or send me an email.
Continue reading "#403 Third Department Caselaw Round-Up for July 12, 2012, Part 3 of 12" »