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Name: In re Hunter W.
Case #: B229507
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 08/30/2011

The juvenile court abused discretion by proceeding with a hearing on a 388 petition in parents’ absence. The court granted a hearing on parents’ 388 modification petition which was to be heard the same day as the 366.26 hearing. On that day, the parents checked in at calendar call, but when the court reconvened two hours later, the parents were not present. Counsel stated that father was attending his treatment program and requested a brief continuance to the afternoon calendar. The court denied the continuance, and proceeded on the 388 petition without the parents, who were the sole witnesses scheduled. The court denied the 388 petition and terminated parental rights. The appellate court reversed, finding that it was an abuse of discretion not to hold the case to the afternoon calendar. The 366.26 order was also reversed because a fair hearing on the 388 petition was a procedural predicate to proceeding on the 366.26 disposition. The court denied mother’s claim that the ICWA inquiry was insufficient.