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Name: In re D.D.
Case #: F050003
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/02/2006
Summary

The 17-year old father of the dependent minor argued on appeal that the juvenile court erred when it did not appoint a guardian ad litem or an attorney for him until the six-month review hearing. The Department argued that father did not need a guardian ad litem, and since he did not appear in court and ask for a guardian ad litem or an attorney, there was no error. The appellate court agreed with father and reversed. When a minor is a party to an action, a guardian ad litem must be appointed for the minor as a matter of law. Father here was also a presumed father, and was entitled to counsel to assist him in securing his rights as such. Because father was a minor, and had neither a guardian ad litem nor an attorney to represent him, the proceedings were fundamentally unfair. Reversal of the jurisdictional findings and orders, and all subsequent orders, was therefore required.