Rule 118. Appeals

Rule 118. Appeals

(a)   General. Appeals shall be taken pursuant to T.C.A. § 37-1-159.

(b)  Right to an Attorney.  The right to an attorney at all stages of the proceedings shall include the right to an attorney in an appeal.

(c)    When Right Attaches.  The right to an appeal attaches upon entry of the final order.

(d)  Notification.  At any hearing which will result in a final order, the judge shall notify all parties of their right to appeal and the time limits for and manner in which the right to appeal can be perfected, and the right to an attorney on appeal.

(e)   Filing.  An appeal may be filed with the clerk of the juvenile court within 10 days of the entry of the final order. A prematurely filed notice of appeal shall be treated as filed on the day of entry of the order from which the appeal is taken.

(f)     Perfection.  An appeal is perfected when a notice of appeal is filed and:

(1)  a filing fee is paid, or bond in lieu of the filing fee is posted;

(2)  an affidavit of indigency is filed within the applicable time period and an order allowing filing on a pauper’s oath is subsequently entered; or

(3)  the court has previously determined the appellant to be indigent.

(g)   Indigent Status.  If leave to proceed as an indigent person is denied, the clerk of the juvenile court shall serve notice of the denial to the parties.

(h)  Record on Appeal.  When an appeal has been perfected, the clerk shall cause the entire record in the case, including the juvenile court’s findings and written reports from probation officers, court employees or professional consultants, to be taken to the circuit court, where the case shall be set for a de novo hearing.

(i)     Parties to the Appeal.  All parties to the juvenile court proceeding shall be parties to the de novo hearing.

Advisory Commission Comments. 

Appeals under this rule do not include the request for a hearing before the juvenile court judge after entry of a magistrate’s order.  Such requests are controlled by T.C.A. §37-1-107 governing magistrates.

The right to appeal accrues upon entry of a final order. Prior to the 2016 amendment, the previous language read “upon entry of the order of final disposition.” The Commission modified the language to make clear that orders other than an order entered following a dispositional hearing may be considered “final orders.”  Black’s Law Dictionary defines final order as “an order that is dispositive of the entire case.” Black’s Law Dictionary 1206 (9th ed. 2009). Tennessee case law holds that a judgment is final “when it decides and disposes of the whole merits of the case leaving nothing for the further judgment of the court.” Richardson v. Board of Dentistry, 913 S.W.2d 446, 460 (Tenn. 1995) (citing Saunders v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson County, 383 S.W.2d 28, 31 (Tenn. 1964)). Examples of final orders in juvenile court include, but are not limited to, orders revoking probation or terminating home placement, an order finding a child violated a valid court order pursuant to § 31.303(f)(2) & (3) of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations, dispositional orders, and the same orders issued by a magistrate that have not been appealed to the judge. This list is not exclusive, and other orders may be considered final orders. The Commission also notes the case of In re Valentine, 79 S.W.3d 539, 547 (Tenn. 2002), in which the court held that ratification of a permanency plan is not a final order.

This rule clarifies that a notice of an appeal, pursuant to T.C.A. §37-1-159, must be filed with the clerk of the juvenile court and not with the youth services officer or any other office.

Pursuant to subdivision (i) and T.C.A. §37-1-159, all parties subject to the final order are parties to the appeal.

This rule clarifies that an appeal is perfected when the notice of appeal is filed and the required filing fee is paid or otherwise satisfied.  Such satisfaction includes payment of the fee or by proceeding in forma pauperis.  See T.C.A. §20-12-127.

See Rule 110 for the computation of time.

T.C.A. §37-1-103, regarding the juvenile court’s exclusive jurisdiction, has been amended to make clear that the juvenile court retains jurisdiction to the extent needed to complete any reviews or permanency hearings for children in foster care during the pendency of the appeal to administer the case until the appeal has been decided or further orders entered by the circuit court.

The constitutional prohibition against being placed twice in jeopardy for the same offense applies to juvenile court proceedings as well as adult proceedings.  Breed v. Jones, 421 U.S. 519 (1975); State v. Jackson, 503 S.W.2d 185 (Tenn. 1973). Normally, jeopardy attaches in a non-jury proceeding when a witness is sworn to testify. State v. Pennington, 952 S.W.2d 420, 422 (Tenn. 1997).  See also, State v. Bryan, W1999–00620–CCA–R3–CD, 2000 WL 33288749, 2000 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 511 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 27, 2000). The constitutional prohibition against being placed twice in jeopardy for the same offense precludes the state from seeking de novo appeal in a delinquent or unruly case which has been dismissed following a hearing on the merits. State v. Jackson, supra.