Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
Case No. 14CA2167
Attorneys for Petitioner: Ronald Carl, Arapahoe County
Attorney Michael Valentine, Deputy County Attorney Danielle
Newman, Assistant County Attorney Aurora, Colorado
Attorneys for Respondent: Megan Ring, Public Defender Ryann
S. Hardman, Deputy Public Defender Denver, Colorado
Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Counties, Inc.: Hall
& Evans, LLC Thomas J. Lyons Paul R. Janda Denver,
Attorneys for Amicus Curiae the Colorado Department of Human
Services: Philip J. Weiser, Attorney General Tanya E.
Wheeler, First Assistant Attorney General Sarah Richelson,
Assistant Attorney General Denver, Colorado
In 2014, the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services
(the Department) was ordered by the district court to take
custody of D.Z.B. and house him in a particular facility
pending his delinquency adjudication. Believing that the
court order imposed a duty on it that was in violation of
statutory requirements, the Department appealed that order.
The court of appeals dismissed the appeal, concluding that
the Department, as a non-party to the delinquency
proceedings, lacked standing to appeal the order. In reaching
that conclusion, the division conflated the test to evaluate
whether a plaintiff has standing to bring a lawsuit with the
test to determine whether a non-party has standing to appeal
a decision of a lower court. Accordingly, we reverse and
remand for the division to apply the correct standing
analysis and to consider any other remaining arguments.
Facts and Procedural History
D.Z.B., a habitual juvenile offender, was on probation when
he was charged with additional delinquent acts. The
prosecution sought to revoke or modify his probation.
D.Z.B.'s counsel requested that the petitioner, the
Department, investigate treatment and confinement options for
D.Z.B. At the pretrial hearing, the guardian ad litem and
D.Z.B.'s counsel requested that D.Z.B. be placed in one
of the Department's residential facilities, Jefferson
Hills, both prior to adjudication and as a sentence if he
were adjudicated delinquent.
The Department objected to D.Z.B. being placed in Jefferson
Hills in lieu of bond before the adjudication. The Department
contended that under section 19-2-114(1)(a), C.R.S. (2018),
and state regulations governing out-of-home placements for
at-risk children, the district court could not place D.Z.B.
in one of the Department's residential child-care
facilities without its consent until after a delinquency
adjudication. See Dep't of Human Servs. Reg.
500, 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-4: 7.304.3 (2018) (establishing
criteria for out-of-home placement, including a finding of
imminent risk, which can be established by a delinquency
adjudication). The district court disagreed and issued a
temporary custody order requiring that the Department place
D.Z.B. in Jefferson Hills pending his delinquency
The Department appealed the temporary custody order. In its
decision, the court of appeals began by noting that
D.Z.B.'s counsel had raised several threshold concerns
about the appeal, including the lack of a sufficient record,
the absence of a final appealable order, and the
Department's alleged lack of standing. People in
Interest of D.Z.B., 2017 COA 17, ¶ 16, ___ P.3d
___. Because it concluded that the Department did not have
standing to challenge the order, the court of appeals
declined to address the other issues raised by D.Z.B.'s
counsel. Id. at ¶ 17.
In analyzing the Department's standing, the division
first inquired whether the Department had suffered an injury
in fact to a legally protected interest or had been conferred
standing under the Colorado Children's Code. Id.
at ¶¶ 33-44. To these questions, the division
answered no. Id. at ¶¶ 36, 44. The
division then considered whether the Department had been
substantially aggrieved by the district court's order and
found that, because the order did not place an "onerous
or unique burden" on the Department, there was no
substantial grievance. Id. at ¶ 52. The
Department now asks us to reverse the court of appeals'
decision, arguing that the division departed from our
longstanding precedent requiring a non-party to show only
that it was substantially aggrieved by a lower court's
order to have standing to appeal.
We granted certiorari.