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In re D.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF D.H., Minor Child, D.H., Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clarke County, Monty W. Franklin, District Associate Judge.

         An interstate juvenile runaway appeals the juvenile court's order placing the juvenile in secure detention pursuant to the Interstate Compact for Juveniles. REVERSED.

          Mathew D. Zinkula of Booth Law Firm, Osceola, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Charles K. Phillips, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         D.H. appeals a detention order placing D.H. in secure detention pursuant to the Interstate Compact for Juveniles (ICJ). The State claims the issue is moot now that D.H. has been returned to Nevada. D.H. claims an exception to the mootness doctrine should apply. Because the juvenile court failed to exercise its discretion, we reverse.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On March 7, 2017, the juvenile court officer for Clarke County, Iowa filed an application for the detention of D.H. The application alleged D.H. was being held under a pick-up warrant for another jurisdiction because D.H. was reported as a runaway from the state of Nevada. On March 8, a detention hearing was held, and D.H. agreed to be extradited to Nevada.

         During the hearing, D.H. requested shelter care in place of secure detention, citing Iowa Administrative Code chapter 143. In response, the court stated:

[B]y adopting the ICJ, the State of Iowa has agreed to abide by the rules and requirements of that compact. One of those rules is that the ICJ requirements supersede and take the place of any Iowa laws or rules that are in conflict with the ICJ.
The ICJ requires that a child being held for return to the requesting state be held in a secure facility. The only secure facility in the State of Iowa is the detention facility. Since the ICJ requirement supersedes Iowa law, there is no prohibition from keeping [D.H.] in detention, and that is required under the ICJ, and that will be the Court's order that she remain in detention pending her return to the state of Nevada.

         The court issued a written detention order, confirming the placement of D.H. in a secure detention facility until D.H's return to Nevada. D.H. appealed the detention order.

         On March 14, the juvenile court officer filed an application for release from detention. The application requested that D.H. be released from detention on March 15 for a return flight to D.H.'s home state of Nevada. The juvenile court approved the application, and D.H. was returned home the next day. On April 20, the State filed a motion to dismiss D.H.'s appeal, arguing the case was moot since D.H. ...


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