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In re Sandy J. M.-M.

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

February 9, 2018

IN RE SANDY J. M.-M.[*]

          Considered January 18, 2018 [**]

          Alvord, Sheldon and Prescott, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         The petitioner, Sandy J. M.-M., asks this court, by way of a motion filed on January 9, 2018, to reverse summarily the trial court's dismissal of her appeal from a decision of the Probate Court denying her petition seeking special immigrant juvenile status findings. See 8 U.S.C. § 1101 (a) (27) (J) (2012); General Statutes § 45a-608n (b).[1] We conclude that the resolution of this appeal is controlled by our Supreme Court's recent decision in In re Henrry P. B.-P., 327 Conn. 312, 173 A.3d 928 (2017), and that summary reversal is appropriate in the circumstances of this case. Accordingly, we grant the petitioner's motion and reverse the judgment of the trial court.

         According to the relevant pleadings, the petitioner was born in Guatemala at the beginning of March, 1999, and she entered the United States when she was still a minor. Proceedings to remove her from the United States have commenced. On February 14, 2017, when she was seventeen years old, the petitioner initiated, pursuant to § 45a-608n (b), this proceeding requesting special immigrant juvenile status findings. Pursuant to General Statutes § 45a-610, the petitioner also filed with the Probate Court a petition to remove her father as her guardian. On March 30, 2017, the Probate Court, Yamin, J., dismissed and denied, respectively, the petitions because the petitioner had reached her eighteenth birthday and the court presumably concluded that it lacked the authority to make the requested findings because she was no longer a minor.

         On May 1, 2017, the petitioner appealed to the Superior Court from the Probate Court's dismissal and denial of the petitions. In that appeal, the petitioner asserted in part that the Probate Court had improperly dismissed and denied the petitions because even though she had reached her eighteenth birthday, the Probate Court retained the statutory authority to render the requested findings.

         On May 25, 2017, the Superior Court, Ginocchio, J., dismissed the appeal from Probate Court, citing to a Superior Court decision that held that it lacked the authority to adjudicate a neglect petition if the minor child turned eighteen years old during the pendency of the petition. See In re Jessica M., 303 Conn. 584, 587-88, 35 A.3d 1072 (2012). On June 29, 2017, the petitioner filed this appeal challenging the propriety of the trial court's dismissal of her probate appeal. On July 27, 2017, this court granted the petitioner's motion to stay the deadline for her to file an appellant's brief until thirty days after the final disposition by our Supreme Court in In re Henrry P. B.-P.

         The Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re Henrry P. B.-P., supra, 327 Conn. 316, on December 14, 2017, holding that the Probate Court does not lose its authority to make special immigrant juvenile status findings pursuant to § 45a-608n (b) when the child who is the subject of the petition reaches the age of eighteen during the pendency of the petition. We agree with the petitioner that In re Henrry P. B.-P. controls the resolution of this appeal.

         Although our rules of practice do not contain an express provision authorizing a summary disposition of an appeal on the merits, this court has the authority to suspend the rules ‘‘[i]n the interest of expediting decision, or for other good cause shown . . . .'' Practice Book § 60-3. If the disposition of an appeal is plainly and undeniably mandated by a decision of our Supreme Court, as in this case, summary disposition is warranted and further adjudication of the appeal would waste precious judicial resources. Summary disposition is particularly warranted if, as in this case, such relief is unopposed and our failure to act expeditiously might prejudice a party by preventing the timely assertion of her rights.

         The motion is granted, the judgment of the Superior Court is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings according to law.

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Notes:

[*] In accordance with the spirit and intent of General Statutes § 46b-142 (b) and Practice Book § 79a-12, the names of the parties involved in this appeal are not disclosed. The records and papers of this case shall be open for inspection only to persons having a proper interest therein and upon order of the Appellate Court.

[**] February 9, 2018, the date that this decision was released as a slip opinion, is the operative date for all substantive and ...


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