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Name: In re M.P.
Case #: H038640
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/21/2013
Summary

Appointment of GAL was necessary where mother suffered from delusions. Dependency proceedings were initiated due to mother’s severe mental health problems, including delusions that mother and daughter were being raped nightly. Counsel informed the court that it was necessary to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) for mother, and that mother did not want a GAL, but did want a Marsden hearing. The court appointed a GAL and did not hold a Marsden hearing. On appeal, mother challenged both the appointment of the GAL and the court’s failure to hold a Marsden hearing. The appellate court rejected the arguments and affirmed. Based upon its exchange with mother and her counsel at the hearing, the juvenile court could reasonably infer from mother’s remarks that she could not rationally confer with her counsel or assist him with the case. Mother’s responses indicated that she was still delusional and did not appreciate her own mental health problems. Substantial evidence showed that mother was incompetent and needed a GAL to protect her interests. Further, none of mother’s complaints about counsel indicated that counsel was not providing adequate representation or that there was an irreconcilable conflict. The juvenile court could reasonably conclude that the appointment of a GAL would address mother’s complaints.