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R.O. v. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services

Court of Appeals of The District of Columbia

January 17, 2019

R.O., Petitioner,
v.
Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, Respondent. In re R.O., Appellant.

          Argued October 25, 2018

          On Petition for Review of an Order of the District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services

          Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (DEL-1482-16) (Hon. Robert D. Okun, Trial Judge)

          Shilpa S. Satoskar, Public Defender Service, with whom Samia Fam, Amy Phillips, and Daniel Gonen, Public Defender Service, were on the brief for petitioner-appellant.

          Janice Y. Sheppard, Assistant Attorney General, with whom Karl A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Loren L. AliKhan, Solicitor General, and Rosalyn Calbert Groce, Deputy Solicitor General, were on the brief for respondent-appellee.

          Before Blackburne-Rigsby, Chief Judge, and Beckwith and McLeese, Associate Judges.

          MCLEESE, ASSOCIATE JUDGE

         R.O. is in the custody of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) because he was found to have committed delinquent acts. R.O. challenges DYRS's decision to confine him in a secure residential facility. We vacate and remand for further proceedings.

         I.

         Except as noted, the following facts appear to be undisputed. In May 2017, R.O. was committed to DYRS's custody until his twentieth birthday, based on determinations in two separate juvenile proceedings that he was involved in a robbery and an assault with significant bodily injury. In November 2017, R.O. and DYRS signed a community-placement agreement (CPA) that placed R.O. in a group home. In the CPA, R.O. agreed among other things to "[o]bey all laws, ordinances, rules and regulations of the District of Columbia and all its surrounding jurisdictions;" "[o]bey all school personnel;" "comply with all conditions of the GPS agreement" if placed on electronic monitoring; and have no new arrests.

         In January 2018, R.O. was arrested for unlawful entry. R.O. was arrested again in February 2018, this time for armed carjacking. The following day, the Superior Court determined that R.O. had been arrested for carjacking without probable cause. The charges against R.O. in the carjacking case were subsequently dismissed.

         After the carjacking arrest, R.O.'s case manager, Jeffrey Hammond, recommended that R.O. be placed in a secure residential facility. In his recommendation, Mr. Hammond stated among other things that R.O. had been arrested for unlawful entry and carjacking, had been suspended from school, had missed school, and had failed to comply with the terms of his GPS monitoring agreement.

         DYRS held a hearing to determine whether R.O.'s community placement should be revoked. The hearing took place before a panel of three DYRS employees. The panel heard evidence from two witnesses, neither of whom was placed under oath. DYRS's sole witness was Mr. Hammond. Mr. Hammond stated that R.O. had been arrested for carjacking, but Mr. Hammond acknowledged that a Superior Court judge had subsequently determined that there was no probable cause for the arrest. Mr. Hammond further acknowledged that, other than a police report alleging that a carjacking took place, DYRS did not have any evidence that R.O. had actually committed carjacking.

         Mr. Hammond stated that R.O. had been arrested for unlawful entry. DYRS also submitted a police report alleging that R.O. had committed unlawful entry. Mr. Hammond stated that R.O. had acknowledged being aware that he had been barred from the area at issue. Mr. Hammond further stated that R.O. had been suspended from school for his involvement in an altercation with another youth. Finally, Mr. Hammond stated that R.O. had failed to keep his GPS device ...


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