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Name: In re E.S.
Case #: E051886
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/28/2011
Subsequent History: Mod. & rehrg. denied 7/20/11

Minor’s petition to assert relationship with younger siblings was properly denied where there was no evidence of the younger siblings’ bond with him. Appellant minor was the oldest of three children who became dependents of the juvenile court. Although minor was originally placed with his siblings, he was later placed in a group home due to behavior problems. At the twelve month review stage, the foster parents of the younger siblings expressed a desire to adopt them and the Department recommended adoption. The minor filed a 388 petition seeking either reunification with his siblings or an order precluding their adoption. The trial court denied the petition, and the minor appealed, contending that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the petition and violated his due process rights by not permitting live testimony at the hearing. The appellate court rejected the arguments and affirmed. Although the petition alleged that the minor had a bond with his younger siblings and that adoption would have a negative impact on the relationship, there was no showing that the younger minors were bonded to him, nor any evidence that the proposed order was in their best interest. Given the facts (prior incidents of aggression by minor toward the siblings), it cannot be assumed that the siblings had a positive relationship with the minor or the bond was reciprocal. Further, the minor cited no authority holding that a nonadoptive sibling has a due process right to cross-examine witnesses at a hearing on a section 388 petition.