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Name: In re Andrew A.
Case #: D055956
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/23/2010

The court had no authority to reconsider the jurisdiction findings where the mother had pleaded no contest to the petition and the disposition hearing had not yet occurred. The minor and the department appealed from a juvenile court order granting a motion for reconsideration of its jurisdictional finding, following the mother’s no contest plea to a petition filed under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300 (b). Following the plea, the minor was returned to her on family maintenance. Before the disposition hearing, the department again removed the minor on a section 342 petition. The juvenile court did not sustain the petition, and ordered the minor returned to the mother. The court expressed regret at having sustained the original petition, The mother asked the court to “revisit” its jurisdictional finding. The court treated the request as a motion for reconsideration based on new evidence and granted it over the objection of the department and the minor. On appeal, the department and minor contended that the juvenile court lacked the authority to reconsider its jurisdictional finding because of the procedural context in which reconsideration arose. The appellate court agreed. First, the mother’s no contest plea barred her from bringing the motion to reconsider, and second, the parties were not provided with prior notice that the issue would be addressed at the hearing on the 342 petition. The court may dismiss a petition at a disposition hearing, but this was not a disposition hearing, and no disposition report had been yet prepared.