State of Alabama
from Montgomery Juvenile Court (JU-13-557.04; JU-13-557.05;
JU-13-557.07; and JU-13-557.09)
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
and Procedural History
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:
December 20, 2013, four delinquency petitions were filed
against D.N.'s son, D.S.T., charging him with the
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.)
admitted to the above charges and was adjudicated delinquent.
On January 9, 2014, his mother was explicitly joined as a
party to these proceedings.
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.)
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.)
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.
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.
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.)
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, 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.
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 ...