Sunday, December 8, 2013

State v. C.R. and R.R. case brief

State v. C.R. and R.R. case brief summary
797 P.2d 459 (1990)

In two cases that were consolidated for appeal, plaintiff state brought suit against defendant parents, seeking repayment of support furnished to the parents' children while they were in the custody of state agencies. The Second District Juvenile Court, Weber County (Utah) ruled in favor of the state, refusing to hear the parents' arguments regarding emancipation because it held that the doctrine did not apply in Utah. The parents appealed.

The parents argued that their children had emancipated themselves through their own conduct. The court vacated the trial court's decisions.


  • Writing that the doctrine of emancipation continued to be an accepted part of the common law, it stated that Utah Code Ann. § 68-3-1 (1986), adopting the common law of England, had been interpreted as the Utah legislature's adoption of the common law as it had been developed by United States courts, not just the English courts. 
  • Therefore, it held, the common law doctrine of emancipation was a part of Utah law constituting the rule of decision in Utah courts, unless it conflicted with the statutes or constitutions of the United States or of Utah. 
  • It remanded the case, ordering the juvenile court to determine what factors were relevant to whether emancipation had occurred, whether the children had been emancipated under these factors, and whether applying the doctrine of emancipation would conflict with any Utah law.

The court vacated the juvenile court's decisions. It remanded the cases for further proceedings.

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