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Name: In re A.O.
Case #: E062111
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/12/2015
Summary

Where trial court did not advise mother of her right to appeal following the disposition hearing, appellate court reached merits of mother’s arguments despite untimely appeal. Mother appealed the jurisdictional and dispositional findings concerning the minor, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support them. The Department asserted that mother forfeited these arguments by failing to file a timely notice of appeal after the dispositional order. Mother conceded the appeal was not timely, but asked the court to reach the merits of the case because the juvenile court failed to advise mother of her right to appeal at the conclusion of the disposition hearing. The appellate court agreed, and considered the merits of the appeal. Rule 5.590(a) requires that a court, after making a dispositional order, must advise the parties of their right to appeal. The same rule also requires court advisement where a section 366.26 hearing is ordered. The appellate court in In re Cathina W. held that where the trial court failed to advise of the writ requirement, review could be sought on appeal even if it were otherwise untimely. Finding that precedent persuasive, the court here held the lower court’s failure to advise mother concerning her right to appeal constituted a special circumstance constituting an excuse for failure to timely appeal. [Eds. note: Even though the court reached the merits of the appeal, in an unpublished portion of the opinion, it rejected mother’s arguments.]