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Name: In re M.L.
Case #: A132667
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 04/20/2012
Subsequent History: Rehrg. denied; opn. modified

Juvenile court did not have power to grant criminal records exemption after Agency denied it. After placing the dependent minor with her grandparents, the Agency discovered that grandfather had a criminal history which made the home ineligible as a placement. The Agency moved the minor and filed a 387 petition. Grandfather sought a criminal history exemption which was denied by the Agency. During the 387 proceeding, the juvenile court reviewed the propriety of the move and the denial of the exemption. After a lengthy proceeding, the court dismissed the 387 petition and ordered the minor placed with the grandparents. The Agency appealed, arguing that the placement was unauthorized due to the unexempted criminal history. The appellate court agreed with the Agency and reversed. The juvenile court erred in dismissing the 387 petition and ordering the child placed with the grandparents. The minor could not be placed with the grandparents without a criminal records exemption and the juvenile court did not have the power to grant such an exception, even where it determined that the Agency abused its discretion in denying it. The record does not support a finding that the Agency abused its discretion, and the court’s comments showed that it misapplied the standard. Further, although a 387 petition may not have been necessary to move the minor from her grandparents’ home, the court should have granted the petition.