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In re Cody C.

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

July 16, 2013

IN RE CODY C.

Submitted: April 11, 2013.

6th Circuit Court – Franklin Family Division.

Michael A. Delaney, attorney general (Nicholas Cort, assistant attorney general, on the brief), for the State.

Christopher M. Johnson, chief appellate defender, of Concord, on the brief, for the juvenile.

BASSETT, J.

The juvenile, Cody C., appeals a decision of the 6th Circuit Court – Franklin Family Division (Gordon, J.) retaining jurisdiction over him until his eighteenth birthday. See RSA 169-B:4, V (Supp. 2012). We affirm.

The record supports, or the parties agree to, the following facts. The juvenile had been adjudicated delinquent on several occasions. Shortly before the juvenile's seventeenth birthday, the State moved, pursuant to RSA 169-B:4, V, to extend the court's jurisdiction until the juvenile's eighteenth birthday.

At a hearing on the motion, the juvenile argued that RSA 169-B:4, V cannot support the court's retention of jurisdiction. The court disagreed, ruling that paragraph V applied, and extended jurisdiction until the juvenile's eighteenth birthday. This appeal followed.

On appeal, the juvenile argues that the trial court erred in relying upon RSA 169-B:4, V to retain jurisdiction until his eighteenth birthday. He contends that the plain language of paragraph V "renders it applicable only in cases otherwise covered by RSA 169-B:4, III." We disagree.

We review the trial court's statutory interpretation de novo. In re Kirsten P., 158 N.H. 158, 160 (2008). In matters of statutory interpretation, we are the final arbiters of the legislature's intent as expressed in the words of the statute considered as a whole. Id. When examining the language of the statute, we ascribe the plain and ordinary meaning to the words used. Id. We interpret legislative intent from the statute as written and will not consider what the legislature might have said or add language that the legislature did not see fit to include. Id.

RSA 169-B:4, V provides, in pertinent part:

Notwithstanding paragraph III, when the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that closing the case would endanger the safety of the minor, any other person, or the community, or the court finds that there is a high probability that continued provision of treatment services is necessary to rehabilitate the minor, the court may retain jurisdiction over any minor:
(a) Who has been found to have committed a violent crime as defined under RSA 169-B:35-a, I(c);
(b) Who has been petitioned to the court on 4 or more occasions and adjudicated delinquent in 4 separate adjudicatory hearings which ...

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