October 18, 2012
NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
M.H. AND D.H., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.
IN THE MATTER OF D.H., MINOR.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, Docket No. FN-07-220-12.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued telephonically on October 10, 2012
Before Judges Reisner and Harris.
Defendants D.H. and his wife M.H. appeal from an October 12, 2011
order of the Family Part, granting a motion for investigation filed by
the Division of Youth and Family Services (Division),*fn1
pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4C-12. We dismiss the appeal as moot.
D.H. is a convicted sex offender subject to the provisions of Megan's Law, including community supervision for life. See N.J.S.A. 2C:7-1; N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4. His 1977 and 2000 convictions stemmed from several incidents in which he was accused of molesting pre-pubescent girls. The May 5, 2000 judgment of conviction noted that the court "finds defendant to be a compulsive and repetitive sex offender," and sentenced him to probation "with a program of specialized treatment." The terms of D.H.'s lifetime parole supervision included a prohibition against living in the same household with children, other than his own child.
In 2011, when defendants' son was twelve years old, D.H. was arrested and charged with viewing child pornography on a computer. The arrest triggered an investigation by the Division, as well as a direction from D.H.'s parole officer that he not reside with or have unsupervised contact with his twelve-year old son. Defendants initially cooperated with the Division's investigation and the agency was satisfied that the son was not in danger. However, based on subsequent information that defendant had moved back into the home contrary to his parole conditions, the Division sought to investigate further. After defendants refused to cooperate with that investigation, the Division applied for a court order permitting a further investigation and requiring defendants' cooperation.
The application was granted by order dated October 12, 2011. D.H. applied to this court for permission to file an emergent motion to stay the investigation. We denied his application. The Division conducted its further investigation, found no then-current basis to allege abuse or neglect of the son, and the Family Part judge dismissed the Division's complaint by order dated December 6, 2011, without making any adverse finding concerning defendants. See N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. A.P., 408 N.J. Super. 252, 262-63 (App. Div. 2009), certif. denied, 201 N.J. 103 (2010). Accordingly, we conclude that this appeal is moot. Id. at 261-62. Further, the case presents no issues of significant public importance that militate in favor of our entertaining the case despite its mootness. See DeVesa v. Dorsey, 134 N.J. 420, 428 (1993).