45.0103 Definitions.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 45.0103]

As used in this title, unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions apply:

(1) “Adjudicatory hearing” means a hearing to determine whether the allegations of a petition under paragraph (a)(l) or (a)(2) of 45.0115 are supported by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt or the allegations of a petition under paragraph (a)(3) of 45.0115 are supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

(2) “Adult” means a person 18 years of age or older. However, any person 18 years of age or over falling under the continuing jurisdiction of the court, or who is before the court for an alleged delinquent act committed prior to his 18th birthday, or concerning whom a petition has been filed for his adoption other than under this title, shall be referred to as a child.

(3) “Child” means a person under 18 years of age or a mentally retarded or developmentally disabled person regardless of age.

(4) “Child care center” means a facility approved under law: if the facility is located in another State or Territory, it shall be licensed or approved as required by law in that state or territory.

(5) “Child in need of supervision” means any child:

(A) who is repeatedly absent from school in violation of the requirements of 16.0302;

(B) who has run away from home or is otherwise beyond the control of his parent, guardian, or other legal custodial or

(C) whose behavior or condition is such as to endanger his own or other welfare.

(6) “Child placement agency” means an agency approved under law. If the agency is located in another state or territory, it shall be licensed or approved as required by law in that state or territory.

(7) “Commit” means to transfer legal custody.

(8) “Court” means the Trial Division of the High Court of American Samoa, except for uncontested adoptions under 45.0420 through 45.0431 then court means the District Court;

(9) (A) “Delinquent child” means any child 10 years of age or older who, regardless of where the violation occurred, has violated:

(I) any federal, state, or territorial law;

(II) any ordinance, the penalty for which may be a jail sentence; or

(III) any lawful order of the court made under this title.

(B) This definition does not apply to:

(I) children 14 years of age or older who allegedly commit crimes of violence; or

(II) children who within the previous 2 years have been adjudicated a delinquent child, and the act for which the child was adjudicated a delinquent would have been a felony if committed by an adult or punishable by a maximum punishment of life imprisonment or death;

(III) children 14 years of age or older who allegedly commit any felony subsequent to any other felony which was the subject of a hearing in which the child was certified for criminal proceedings as an adult.

(C) A child who violates any traffic law or regulation shall be designated a “juvenile traffic offender” and shall not be designated a delinquent unless it be so ordered by the court after hearing the evidence.

(10) “Deprivation of custody” means transfer of legal custody by the court from a parent or a previous legal custodian to another person, agency or institution.

(11) “Detention” means the temporary care of a child who requires secure custody in physically restricting facilities pending court disposition or an execution of a court order for placement or commitment. Juvenile detention facilities are designated by the Court.

(12) "Diagnostic and evaluation centers” means places for the examination and study of persons committed to the custody of the Department of Public Safety, Corrections Bureau.

(13) “Dispositional hearing” means a hearing to determine what order of disposition should be made concerning a child adjudicated as delinquent, in need of supervision, or neglected or dependent. The hearing may be part of the proceeding which includes the adjudicatory hearing or it may be held at a time subsequent to the adjudicatory hearing.

(14) “Family care home” means a facility approved under law. If the facility is located in another state or territory, it shall be licensed or approved as required by law in that state or territory.

(15) “Group care facilities and homes” means places other than foster family care homes providing care for small groups of children.

(16) “Guardianship of the person” means the duty and authority vested by Court action to make major decisions affecting a child including, but not limited to:

(A) the authority to consent to marriage, to enlistment in the armed forces, and to medical or surgical treatment;

(B) the authority to represent a child in legal actions and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;

(C) the authority to consent to the adoption of a child when parental rights have been terminated by judicial decree; and

(D) the rights and responsibilities of legal custody when legal custody has not been vested in another person, agency, or institution;

(17) “Half-way houses” means group care facilities for children who have been placed on probation or parole under the terms of this title.

(18) (A) “Legal custody” means the right to the care, custody, and control of a child and the duty to provide food, clothing, shelter, ordinary medical care, education, and discipline for a child and, in an emergency, to authorize surgery or other extraordinary care. Legal custody may be taken from a parent only by Court action.

(B) For purposes of determining the residence of a child, guardianship is in the person to whom legal custody has been granted by the Court.

(19) “Neglected or dependent child” means a child:

(A) whose parent, guardian, or legal custodian has abandoned him or has subjected him to mistreatment or abuse or whose parent, guardian, or legal custodian has suffered or allowed another to mistreat or abuse the child without taking lawful means to stop such mistreatment or abuse and to prevent it from recurring;

(B) who lacks proper parental care through the actions or omissions of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian;

(C) whose environment is injurious to his welfare;

(D) whose parent, guardian, or legal custodian fails or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical care, or any other care necessary for his health, guidance, or well-being; or

(E) who is homeless, without proper care, or not domiciled with his parent, guardian, or legal custodian through no fault of his parent, guardian, or legal custodian.

(20) “Normal parental discipline” means all actions by parents, such as administration of blows by hand, strap, or light switch upon the buttocks, or any firm handling, scolding or light taps, insufficient to seriously bruise or produce medical injury or disability.

(21) “Parent” means either a natural parent of a legitimate child, or a parent by adoption, or the natural parent of an illegitimate child. A child born to a woman married at the time of its conception or birth is presumed to be the legitimate child of her husband. In the event that the mother is legally married to a different man at the time of birth than she was at the time of conception, the child is presumed to be the legitimate child of her husband at the time of conception. If this presumption is legally rebutted and no contrary determination is made, the man to whom the mother is married at the time of the child’s birth is presumed to be the legitimate father of the child. The father of an illegitimate child has no parental rights to the child unless he, prior to entry of a decree of adoption, has acknowledged the child as his own by affirmatively asserting paternity as follows:

(A) causing his name to be affixed to the birth certificate of the child;

(B) paying medical or hospital bills associated with the birth of the child;

(C) paying support for the child; or

(D) otherwise asserting his paternity in writing.

(22) “Protective supervision” means a legal status created by Court order under which the child is permitted to remain in his home or is placed with a relative or other suitable person, and supervision and assistance is provided by the Court, Department of Health or other agency designated by the Court.

(23) “Receiving center” means a facility used to provide temporary detention and care for children by the Corrections Bureau pending placement in a training school, camp, or other facility.

(24) “Residual parental rights and responsibilities” means those rights and responsibilities remaining with the parent after legal custody, guardianship of the person, or both have been vested in another person, agency, or institution, including, but not limited to: the responsibility for support, the right to consent to adoption, the right to reasonable visitation unless restricted by the court, and the right to determine the child’s religious affiliation.

(25) “Shelter” means the temporary care of a child in physically unrestricting facilities pending Court disposition or execution of a court order for placement. Juvenile shelter facilities are designated by the Court.

(26) “Termination of parental rights” means the permanent elimination by Court order of all parental rights and duties, including residual parental rights and responsibilities.

(27) “Training schools” means institutions providing care, education, treatment, and rehabilitation for children in a closed setting.

History:1980, PL 16-71 § 1.

Case Notes:

Subsection (19): Legal termination available only when child has been neglected by one or both natural parents or is homeless. Three Minor Children, 2 ASR2d 4 (1986).

Proceedings to terminate parental rights upon ground that the children are neglected and dependent are adversarial in nature, in contrast to relinquishment proceedings which are voluntary. A.S.C.A. §§ 45.0115, 45.0103, 45.0401. In re Two Minor Children, 8 A.S.R.2d 75 (1988).

Territorial statute vesting discretion in attorney general to proceed against certain minors as adults was not constitutionally defective due to alleged inconsistency with general purpose of juvenile justice statute to accord special treatment to minors, since both the general rules of statutory construction and the specific language of another statutory provision indicated that the exception was deliberate and purposeful. A.S.C.A. §§ 45.0103(9)(B)(I), 45.0115(c)(2)(a). American Samoa Government v. Julio, 9 A.S.R.2d 128 (1988).

Research Guide: CRS 19-1-103, 15 ASC 281, 15 ASC 662(14), 15 ASC 4802, 17 ASC 1, 17 ASC 651, 17 ASC 653, 18 ASC 5, 21 ASC 2901, 33 ASC 2, 33 ASC 3, 33 ASC 53.