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Name: In re B.D.
Case #: C053745
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/07/2007
Summary

The court erred when it failed to consider independent evidence in addition to witness statements at jurisdictional hearing. The minors were removed due to the minor mother’s mental health issues, which required hospitalization. Mother improved dramatically after she began taking medication. At a jurisdictional hearing, County Counsel sought to call four witnesses who saw mother throw the minor on a bench at a train station. The trial court refused to allow the testimony, noting that counsel submitted their case on the reports of the social worker. The court dismissed the petitions and released the minors back into their mother’s custody. The Department appealed, arguing that the juvenile court erred when it failed to consider the independent evidence in addition to the reports. The appellate court agreed and reversed for further jurisdictional proceedings. The juvenile court mistakenly believed it could not consider the witness testimony. Although the evidence could not be considered by itself as a basis for the jurisdictional finding, it could be considered, and there was independent evidence which corroborated it. The trial court erred in dismissing the petition without considering the evidence.