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Name: In re
Case #: F054172
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/28/2008

The trial court did not err when it sustained the department’s objection to testimony at 366.26 hearing when detriment issue had been resolved at previous hearing. Mother appealed from an order terminating her parental rights. Three months earlier, the court had found that termination would not be detrimental, but calendared a further 366.26 hearing to determine if there were adoptive homes. Mother contended that the court violated her due process rights at the subsequent hearing when it sustained objections to her presenting evidence to support her claim that termination would be detrimental to the children because of their bond with her. The appellate court found no error. Once a court has made a no detriment finding pursuant to section 366.26, subdivision (3), due process does not require the court to revisit the issue at the subsequent 366.26 hearing unless new evidence emerges or circumstances change. The only issue before the trial court at the hearing in question was whether it was likely that the children would be adopted. The issue of whether it was detrimental to terminate parental rights had already been resolved at a hearing where mother was afforded her right to be heard. There were no new circumstances and no new evidence. Therefore, the court could reasonably conclude that the testimony mother sought to introduce was not relevant to the issue before the court.