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Name: In re Jordan R.
Case #: D059985
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/27/2012

Dependency action was properly dismissed where there was insufficient evidence that minor child witnessed sexual abuse. A petition was filed alleging that appellant’s minor children were at risk of sexual abuse because appellant was accused of molesting a niece who was living in the family home. At the jurisdictional hearing, appellant sought to introduce evidence of a polygraph examination in which the examiner had concluded that appellant was truthful when he denied molesting his niece. The juvenile court excluded the evidence pursuant to Kelly/Frye. On appeal, appellant contended that the juvenile court erred when it excluded the polygraph results, and also argued that there was insufficient evidence of sexual abuse. In a cross-appeal, the Agency challenged the dismissal of the dependency action involving appellant’s son, who had no awareness of any sexual abuse of his cousin. The appellate court found that the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it excluded the polygraph testimony. Further, the exclusion of the evidence did not abridge appellant’s right to present a defense. Although there was sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that appellant had molested the niece, and sufficient evidence that his daughter had witnessed one of the acts, there was no evidence to show that any of the acts occurred in the presence of appellant’s son. Therefore, the appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the dependency action concerning the son.