JUVENILES – Use of expert witness permitted to determine best interests of child in juvenile sex offender adudication: N.L. v. Commonwealth (COA 8/14/2009)

N.L. v. Commonwealth
2007-CA-001216 8/14/09 2009 WL 2475190

Opinion by Senior Judge Lambert; Judge Wine concurred; Judge Keller concurred in result by separate opinion.

On discretionary review, the Court vacated and remanded an order of the circuit court affirming a district court judgment finding that appellant was a juvenile sexual offender. The Court held that the district court erred in denying appellant’s motion for a continuance of the dispositional hearing to allow appellant to obtain an independent sexual offender evaluation in order to challenge the conclusions of the juvenile sexual offender assessment submitted by the Department of Juvenile Justice. While nothing within the language of KRS 635.510(3) suggested that a defendant may use an expert witness to challenge the conclusions, KRS 610.110 expressly permitted it in order to determine the best interest of the child.

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