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Name: In re Armando L.
Case #: F072715
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/14/2016

Juvenile court’s denial of a request for a hearing on the issue of dismissal of dependency jurisdiction was error. In the social worker’s report for the 18-month review hearing, it was recommended that custody of the minor be given to Armando’s father and dependency jurisdiction dismissed. Mother requested a contested hearing, as she believed that Armando needed continued services and that placement with father and dismissal of supervision was not in Armando’s best interests. County counsel argued that mother had no standing to contest dismissal, and the appropriate place to challenge the orders was in family court. The juvenile court followed the recommendations of the Department and dismissed dependency jurisdiction, finding that the proper forum was family court. On appeal, mother contended that she had standing to challenge the trial court’s orders and was improperly denied her right to a contested hearing on the issues. The appellate court agreed and reversed. Mother had standing to challenge the court’s orders, a right to present evidence at the review hearing to challenge dismissal of the dependency action, and to present any evidence relevant to the court’s exit orders. The denial of an evidentiary hearing on these issues deprived mother of her due process right to present evidence, and the error was not harmless.