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Name: In re Israel T.
Case #: B286821
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/21/2018
Summary

Jurisdiction order reversed where juvenile court took jurisdiction under section 300, subdivision (b) but struck the words “substantial” risk and “serious” harm, and found at disposition that there was no risk to the children. Father was seen at a suspected drug purchase, which led to a traffic stop, which led to father running from the car to the family’s home. Police found a large bag of marijuana in a bedroom closet and a baggie with residual amounts of suspected methamphetamine on the floor. At the jurisdiction hearing, father’s adult son said the marijuana belonged to him. The court sustained a petition alleging that the children came within section 300, subdivision (b), but in doing so, it struck the word “substantial” from the allegation of risk and the word “serious” from the allegation of harm. The court said it was “invit[ing] reversal at the Court of Appeal.” At disposition, the court invoked section 360, subdivision (b) to return the children to the parents under supervision without declaring a dependency. The court announced that it did not believe that the parents “constituted any kind of risk to the children.” Held: Reversed. The Court of Appeal found that the juvenile court failed to make the findings required under section 300, subdivision (b). Father’s challenge was not a demurrer to the petition, which may have been waived, but was instead a claim that the court did not make required findings. The court distinguished In re Alexzander C. (2017) 18 Cal.App.5th 438. Although the court in both cases struck required language from the petition, the court in Alexzander entered a disposition order that expressly found a risk to the children. The court here made no such order. The Court of Appeal also explained that the substantial evidence test did not save the judgment because that test applies only to “the court’s actual finding.” But here, the juvenile court did not make the required finding in the first instance.