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In the Interest of v. the State of Wyoming

July 12, 2011

IN THE INTEREST OF:
K.C., A MINOR CHILD, APPELLANT (RESPONDENT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PETITIONER).



Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County The Honorable David B. Park, Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Golden, Justice.

Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT, and BURKE, JJ.

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of any typographical or other formal errors so that correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] K.C., a juvenile, was adjudged delinquent. As part of her disposition, she was allowed to remain in a home environment and placed on supervised probation for three to six months. K.C. violated various terms of her probation. In response, her probation was revoked and her disposition changed to placement at the Wyoming Girls' School for an indefinite period. K.C. appeals from the disposition. We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] K.C. presents two issues for this Court's review:

I. Did the trial court abuse its discretion by acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner when it ignored Wyoming Statutes and case law concerning juvenile placements?

II. Did the trial court's conduct of the probation revocation hearing deny K.C. due process of law?

FACTS

[¶3] K.C. admitted shoplifting and was adjudged delinquent. Pursuant to the unanimous agreement of the parties and the recommendation of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT), she was placed on three to six months supervised probation. K.C. was allowed to remain living with her grandmother. Among the conditions of probation was a requirement that K.C. attend school regularly, with no unexcused absences, and get at least C grades in her classes.

[¶4] The juvenile court explained to K.C. that it would hold a review hearing in ninety days. If K.C. was following the terms of probation, especially regarding her attendance and grades at school, she "may not have to come back again." However, the juvenile court warned K.C. that if she was having problems at school "I can almost guarantee you your probation is going to be extended." The juvenile court emphasized to K.C.:

[Y]ou can come in here and if there aren't problems in school, it will either be dismissed or I'll say something like it will be dismissed in 30 or 60 days unless there's an objection. If you come in and there's problems at school, not only will you have to come back and see me, but this three to six months of supervised probation is likely to be six to nine months or six to twelve months on this. And you are in the driver's seat on this.

K.C. failed to comply with the terms of her probation regarding her education, leading the State to file a petition to revoke her probation. At the revocation hearing, K.C., then 16 years of age, admitted to failing in school and having multiple unexcused absences.

[¶5] The juvenile court proceeded to hear recommendations for disposition. The State explained that it would have liked to recommend the Hemry Home, a local residential program. However, at an MDT held the previous day, K.C. had indicated she would not comply with the rules of the Hemry Home. Under the circumstances, the State recommended K.C. be placed in the Wyoming Girls' School. The State also suggested, however, that it might help to set a disposition hearing for the next week to see if K.C. changed her attitude. K.C., through her attorney, recommended she remain with her grandmother. She also suggested another MDT meeting might be helpful. The juvenile court heard from K.C.'s mother and grandmother, who both felt it would do more harm than good to send K.C. to a residential program. The juvenile court also heard from a representative of K.C.'s then present school, who stated K.C. had not been to school for months and would therefore not be able to get any credit for the semester. Further, he noted K.C. did not show up for school after the MDT meeting of the previous day and did not show up for school the current morning. Finally, the juvenile court asked K.C. if she had anything she wanted to say, to which K.C. replied in the negative.

[¶6] The juvenile court proceeded with disposition. It determined:

I don't think I need to postpone it for an MDT. I think it is pretty clear. I have some experience with [K.C.] both from the previous case with her mother and this case. . . . [I]t seems apparent to me that the only ...


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