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In re D.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 17, 2019

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

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Thomas W. Mott, Judge.

         D.C. appeals from the dispositional orders placing him in the custody of Juvenile Court Services for placement in residential treatment foster care.

          Christopher A. Clausen of Clausen Law Office, Ames, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Doyle, P.J., Mullins, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          DOYLE, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         D.C. appeals from the dispositional orders placing him in the custody of Juvenile Court Services (JCS) for placement in residential treatment foster care. He argues the juvenile court erred in granting the application to modify disposition and residential treatment foster care is not the least restrictive placement. We affirm the district court.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         D.C., born in 2002, has numerous cases pending within the juvenile court system. This appeal arises from three of his nine active juvenile court cases. On July 26, 2017, D.C. was caught taking a number of food items from a Kum & Go in Colfax and was alleged to have committed the delinquent act of theft in the fifth degree, in violation of Iowa Code sections 714.1(1) and 714.2(5) (2017). D.C. was also alleged to have committed the delinquent act of theft in the fifth degree after stealing a shopping cart of groceries from Hy-Vee in Newton on July 27, 2017, while in the company of his younger sister. D.C.'s mother was present, nearby, or otherwise implicated in both cases by making improbable excuses at or shortly after each theft. On December 14, 2017, D.C. was adjudicated to have committed both delinquent acts.

         On the same day as his adjudication hearing, D.C. stole a GizmoPal watch from a Verizon store in Newton and was again alleged to have committed the delinquent act of theft in the fifth degree. His mother and sister were present in the store when the act took place.

         D.C. was detained from December 30, 2017, to January 11, 2018. Following a dispositional hearing, the court allowed D.C. to return to his parents' home and placed him on probation. Among other terms, his probation included electronic monitoring. D.C. was detained again on March 4, 2018, after receiving ongoing violations related to his tracking and probation requirements, but he was allowed to return to his parents' home the next day. On March 9, 2018, D.C. pled guilty to the delinquent act of theft in the fifth degree for stealing the GizmoPal watch.

         On March 26, 2018, D.C. was caught stealing a tomahawk from Mills Fleet Farm in Ankeny while his parents were present at a nearby store. D.C. fled Mills Fleet Farm with his sister. A petition alleging that D.C. committed the delinquent act of theft in the fifth degree was filed.[1] As a result of his continuous delinquent behavior, JCS requested D.C. be detained again. The request was initially granted by the juvenile court on March 27, 2018, and continued by court order on April 6, 2018. After a May 4, 2018 hearing, the court found the least restrictive placement required transfer of D.C. to a residential foster care facility. In its May 27, 2018 delinquency disposition modification and delinquency disposition order, the juvenile court ordered transfer of D.C.'s custody to JCS for placement in residential treatment foster care. D.C. appeals.

         II. Standard of Review.

         Delinquency proceedings serve as an alternative to the criminal prosecution of a child. In re A.K., 825 N.W.2d 46, 49 (Iowa 2013). "We normally review delinquency proceedings in juvenile court de novo. When the issue on appeal relates to statutory discretion exercised by the juvenile court, however, we review the evidence de novo to determine whether the discretion was abused." In re A.J.M., 847 N.W.2d 601, 604 (Iowa 2014); In re Matzen, 305 N.W.2d 479, 482 (Iowa 1981) (In circumstances where the legislature has built the juvenile court's discretion into the statute, "our role requires a de novo review to the extent of examining all the evidence to determine whether the court abused its discretion."). Questions of both law and fact are reviewed anew. In re D.L.C., 464 N.W.2d 881, 883 (Iowa ...


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