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Argued October 26, 2010

Before KRAMER and OBERLY, Associate Judges, and BELSON, Senior Judge.

The District of Columbia appeals from the Superior Court’s January 4, 2010, Findings of Fact, Conclusion of Law, and Order of Admission, which granted A.T.’s “Petition for Admission of a Mentally Retarded Person,” and ordered that A.T. be admitted to a Department on Disability Services (“DDS”) facility for the provision of residential habilitation. On appeal, the District argues, first, that the trial court had no authority to conduct a de novo hearing to determine whether A.T. fit within the statutory definition of “mentally retarded,” after DDS had already determined that she did not and, second, that under the correct, deferential standard for review of agency decisions, DDS’s determination that A.T. was ineligible for services should have been affirmed. In the alternative, the District argues that, if this court does not overturn the Superior Court’s de novo review of DDS’s administrative decision, then we should hold that the Superior Court erred when it held that a current diagnosis of mental retardation is not a prerequisite for obtaining residential habilitation services. We hold that the trial judge exceeded her authority in conducting a de novo review of DDS’s decision, and that DDS did not improperly deny services to A.T. Accordingly, we need not reach DDS’s argument that a current diagnosis of mental retardation is a prerequisite to eligibility for services.

 
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