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Name: In re K.M.
Case #: G051656
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/20/2015
Summary

Juvenile court did not have jurisdiction to make subsequent ICWA orders following termination of parental rights while appeal was pending. Parents appealed from the order terminating their parental rights to the minor. The only issue raised on appeal was the Department’s failure to inquire concerning the minor’s Indian heritage as required by ICWA. The Department conceded that it failed to comply with ICWA. However, instead of stipulating to a limited reversal, the Department asked the court to consider evidence of a subsequent hearing in the juvenile court concerning its remedial efforts at notification. The Department contended that the appeal was rendered moot by the postjudgment activities. The appellate court rejected the Department’s argument. Under section 366.26, subdivision (i)(1), a juvenile court lacks jurisdiction to modify or revoke an order terminating parental rights once it has become final. The juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to make any findings on the ICWA issue following the termination of parental rights. Since any postjudgment ICWA order is void, the appeal is not moot. Since the ICWA violations below were not disputed, a limited reversal and remand were required.