Deconstructing The Jane Doe Due Process Decision

The Jane Doe case is back in the news.  Jane Doe is the transgender teen who, at the request of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), was transferred temporarily to the York Correctional Institution for Women in Niantic because of her history of physical violence towards other girls and DCF staff.

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Appellate Court To Hear Jane Doe Case

The Connecticut Appellate Court will hear oral arguments this Thursday morning in the case of In re: Angel R., otherwise known as the Jane Doe case.  Jane is a transgender youth in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, whose temporary transfer to the York Correctional Institution For Women in Niantic earlier this year provoked strong reactions from many individuals and civil rights groups.  The appeal focuses on the constitutionality of a rarely invoked statute that authorizes a Superior Court judge, under certain circumstances, to transfer a youth in DCF custody to a correctional facility.  Two of the briefs in the case are available at this link.


Judge Releases Detailed Memorandum In Jane Doe/DCF Case

Last Friday I posted about the obstacles that the confidentiality of juvenile court proceedings and DCF records have posed to an informed public debate about DCF’s supervision of Jane Doe.   Although prior news reports noted an April 8, 2014 order of the Superior Court judge who granted DCF’s request to transfer Jane Doe to the York correctional facility in Niantic, the judge subsequently articulated his reasoning in greater detail in a 22-page memorandum released on May 6, 2014. (I have posted a copy that redacts the references to Jane Doe’s first name.)  An appeal from his initial decision was filed in the Appellate Court on April 16, 2014.

To the best of my knowledge, no one has reported on that memorandum yet.  [See Update at end of this post.]  If you are truly interested in Jane Doe’s case, PLEASE READ IT.  And be prepared to reevaluate many factual assumptions you have had about the case. Here is a selection from the beginning of the decision:

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Debating The “Jane Doe” Case Without The Facts

I finally blew a gasket when actor/playwright Harvey Fierstein, of all people, decided that he knew enough about the facts of Connecticut’s Jane Doe case to write an op-ed in the New York Times. The troubling story of Jane Doe has been the subject of many articles, editorials and op-eds over the past several weeks.  Jane Doe is the transgender teen that the Department of Children and Families (DCF) asked a judge for permission to transfer to the York Correctional Institution for Women in Niantic because of her alleged history of physical violence towards other girls and DCF staff.

The transfer of a youth to an adult correctional facility–especially when the youth has not been convicted of a crime–is a very serious and newsworthy issue. It not only warrants, but demands, public attention and debate. Read the rest of this entry »