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Name: In re Joann E.
Case #: A097606
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/16/2002
Subsequent History: None
Summary

Kim S. was the minor’s grandmother and was the minor’s guardian when a dependency petition was filed. After the filing of the petition, a guardian ad litem (GAL) was appointed for Kim S., because she was exhibiting signs of mental instability. No notice was provided to Kim S., and there was no hearing on the GAL appointment. Kim objected to the particular GAL appointed, though not to having a GAL in general. She stated in court that he did not seem to be helping her. The appellate court here reversed the jurisdictional and dispositional findings, based on the violation of Kim’s right to due process. The record is unclear as to whether Kim knew what a GAL was or that she understood the rights she was giving up by agreeing to the appointment of one. It is not clear that she was given an opportunity to be heard and no evidence that the court properly assessed her competency. The appointment of the GAL without due process was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.