Snapshot September 2008 / Vol. 13 , No. 9 National Center for Juvenile Justice www.ncjj.org Research Division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges www.ncjfcj.org Jury Trial in Termination of Parental Rights Cases (2008 Update) Linda A. Szymanski, Esq., Chief of Legal Research, NCJJ Jury Trial in Termination of Parental Rights Cases And, in Wisconsin the Rhode Island, South Dakota, powers of the jury are limited. Tennessee, and West Virginia. If the facts of the case are State courts that have determined by a jury, the looked at the issue and jury can only decide whether denied a jury trial in such any grounds for termination cases have noted that judges of parental rights have been are well situated to make proven. The court must then reliable findings, given their decide what disposition is in knowledge of and familiarity the best interest of the child. with the controlling law and Likewise states vary in the the prior proceedings of the procedure used to deny jury case. trials in termination of parental Jury trials could delay rights cases. permanent placement, reduce In 12 states there is no judicial economy, increase constitutional right to a the number of contested jury trial in a termination of adjudications and decrease the Permits or requires a jury trial (6) parental rights case: Alaska, court’s ability to maximize its No constitutional right to a jury trial (12) No statutory right to jury trial (14) California, Georgia, Illinois, resources. Case heard by judge only (19) Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, However, legislatures Maine, Michigan, New continue to debate the issue Mexico, North Carolina, and of permitting or requiring jury As of the end of the law permitting jury trials in Utah. trials in termination of parental 2008 legislative session, termination of parental rights In 14 jurisdictions there rights cases. the following 6 states have cases. This law was repealed, is no right to a jury trial in a statutes or case law that effective January 1, 2007. termination of parental rights permit or require a jury trial in case by statute: Alabama, Of the states that permit termination of parental rights Arkansas, Colorado. District of or require jury trials in such cases: Nevada, Oklahoma, Columbia, Idaho, Minnesota, NCJJ Snapshot is a copyrighted cases, the procedure varies publication of the National Center for Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, Montana, Nebraska, from state to state. For Juvenile Justice. NCJJ is a non-profit and Wyoming. In Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, organization that conducts research example, in Oklahoma, the (statistical, legal, and applied) on a the jury is called an “advisory Pennsylvania, South Carolina, demand for a jury trial must be broad range of juvenile justice topics jury.” Vermont, and Washington. and provides technical assistance granted unless waived. Also, to the field. The remaining 45 the court, on its own motion, In 19 states termination For additional information or to jurisdictions have case law or can call a jury to try such a of parental rights cases request a custom analysis, contact NCJJ at 3700 S. Water St., Ste. 200, statutes or local court rules case. This jury must consist of are heard by a judge only: Pittburgh, PA 15203 Phone: (412) or common practice that 6 persons. Arizona, Connecticut, 227-6950. specifically prohibits a jury Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, ISSN 1093-9369 In Virginia, the judge has trial in termination of parental Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Price: $5 the discretion to allow an Suggested Citation: rights cases. Massachusetts, Mississippi, Szymanski, L. (2008)Jury Trial in advisory jury to hear an issue Termination of Parental Rights Cases As an experiment, on appeal in a termination Missouri, New Jersey, New (2008 Update). NCJJ Snapshot, effective December 18, 2003, of parental rights case on the York, North Dakota, Oregon, 13(9). Pittsburgh, PA: National Center for Juvenile Justice. Arizona enacted statutory motion of any party.
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