Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

D.N. v. State

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

August 11, 2017

D.N.
v.
State of Alabama

         Appeal from Montgomery Juvenile Court (JU-13-557.04; JU-13-557.05; JU-13-557.07; and JU-13-557.09)

          JOINER, Judge.

         D.N. appeals the juvenile court's order requiring him to pay restitution of $50 per month in the underlying delinquency proceedings against his juvenile child, D.S.T. We reverse and remand.

         Facts and Procedural History

         The underlying facts giving rise to the initial restitution order are not relevant here, and a detailed description is not necessary. Briefly, however, the relevant timeline of proceedings is as follows:

         On December 20, 2013, four delinquency petitions were filed against D.N.'s son, D.S.T., charging him with the following:

a. JU-13-557.04--breaking and entering a vehicle in violation of § 13A-8-11, Ala. Code 1975 (C. 10);
b. JU-13-557.05--third-degree burglary in violation of § 13A-7-7, Ala. Code 1975 (C. 11);
c. JU-13-557.07--third-degree burglary in violation of § 13A-7-7, Ala. Code 1975 (C. 12); and
d. JU-13-557.09--third-degree theft of property in violation of § 13A-8-5, Ala. Code 1975 (C. 13.)[1]

         D.S.T. admitted to the above charges and was adjudicated delinquent. On January 9, 2014, his mother was explicitly joined as a party to these proceedings.

         On July 24, 2014, a disposition hearing was held and the juvenile court placed D.S.T. in his mother's custody and ordered him to serve 12 months of supervised probation. D.S.T. was also ordered to pay court costs; the issue of restitution was "reserved." (C. 32.)

         On October 9, 2014, a restitution hearing was held and D.S.T. was ordered to pay a total of $4, 778.20 in $50 monthly increments. Present at this hearing were D.S.T., his mother, D.S.T.'s attorney, and the district attorney. D.S.T.'s father, D.N., was not present at the hearing because he was in prison at the time. The restitution order issued that day contained the following provision: "The Parent(s)/Guardian(s) be made a party and ordered to pay." (C. 36.)

         On July 26, 2016, the State initiated contempt proceedings against D.S.T. for nonpayment of restitution. A show-cause hearing was held on September 9, 2016. D.S.T. was not present at this hearing because he was in prison at the time. D.S.T.'s mother and D.N. were present, though neither of them were represented by counsel.

         At the time of the hearing, D.S.T. still owed $4, 763.12 in restitution. During this hearing, the juvenile court recited at least two occasions on which D.S.T.'s parents were allegedly ordered to pay $50 per month toward fulfilling D.S.T.'s restitution obligation.

         D.S.T.'s mother addressed the court and explained that she was unable to make the restitution payments because of financial difficulties. With regard to D.N., Norman Hurst, D.S.T.'s attorney, argued that D.N. had not been joined as a party. The court disagreed with this argument and referred to the terms of the restitution order, which, the court said, joined the "parents" as parties. (C. 32, 36; R. 11.)

         Hurst argued that D.N. had not received notice of the proceedings and had not been properly joined as a party because he was in prison at the time and had only recently been released. This objection was overruled because, according to the juvenile court, whether D.N. received notice was a separate issue. D.N. then addressed the court and explained that he had been in prison for nine years and that he was released in January 2016. He further explained that he was not aware that his son was having issues with the juvenile system until "the last couple of months" before the show-cause hearing. (R. 14.) The juvenile court told D.N. that, despite having not received proper notice, he had "been made a party to this by virtue of being a parent" and was, therefore, obligated to pay. (R. 15.) D.N. was then ordered, along with D.S.T.'s mother, to pay restitution in the amount of $50 per month. At the hearing, D.N. gave oral notice of appeal. On September 9, 2016, D.N. filed his written notice of appeal.

         Discussion

         On appeal, D.N. contends that the juvenile court erred by ordering him to pay restitution when he had not properly been made a party to the proceedings. (D.N.'s brief, p. 5.) According to D.N., because he was never served and was never expressly made a party to the proceedings, the juvenile court did not obtain personal jurisdiction over him. (D.N.'s brief, p. 6.) We agree.

         Rule 31, Ala. R. Juv. P., governs the procedures by which a parent or legal guardian is made a party to an action in which a child is alleged to be delinquent. According to this rule, when a child is alleged to be delinquent or in need of supervision, "a juvenile court, on motion of an interested party or on the court's own motion may make, by written order, the child's parent or parents" a party or parties to the proceeding. Rule 31(A), Ala. R. Juv. P. When, however, a parent has ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.