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Name: In re Nelson B.
Case #: A136240
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/26/2013

California court did not have jurisdiction over dependency case where minor lived in Maryland with his aunt prior to running away to California. Appellant came to the United States from Honduras illegally at the age of 13. He was picked up by ICE and reunified with an aunt in Maryland. At age 16, appellant ran away again to California and was living with an 18-year old girlfriend. He came to the attention of the Agency when police were called to the house following a fight with an older male. When police learned he was 16, they took him into protective custody. The Agency filed a petition, but then recommended its dismissal when they learned of the Maryland connection. The juvenile court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The minor appealed, contending that the juvenile court erred in determining that it lacked jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. The appellate court rejected his argument and affirmed the juvenile court orders. The UCCJEA defines the “home state” as the one in which a child has lived with a parent or person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before commencement of a child custody proceeding. The minor argued that California was his home state because he lived here with his girlfriend. However, he lived in Maryland for at least six consecutive months before the proceeding with his aunt, who qualified as the person acting as a parent for purposes of the statute. California was not his home state because he ran away from Maryland.