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Name: In re Olivia J.
Case #: D044209
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/02/2004
Subsequent History: mod. 124 CA4th 1462f; rev. gr. 3/16/05: S130457

Appellant was the noncustodial father of the minor at the time of the proceedings. The minor was removed from her mother following injuries received when her mother beat her with a belt. Father appealed a juvenile court judgment of contempt and an order for incarceration after the court found he willfully disobeyed its order to participate in the Substance Abuse Management System program (SARMS) as part of his reunification plan. The appellate court here affirmed the judgment. It found that since father had not appealed the original order requiring SARMS participation, the challenge to it was final and not cognizable on appeal. He also waived his right to challenge the court’s ability to enforce its order through contempt and incarceration, by agreeing to participate in it, with the understanding that noncompliance would result in sanctions. Further, the finding of contempt and resulting incarceration were based on the willful violation of court order under section 213, not on his failure to participate in reunification. Further, father’s challenge to the contempt order based on its lack of specificity was also waived for failure to raise it earlier. Further, the record shows that father complied for several months with the requirements he now claims were not clearly communicated. There was no improper delegation of judicial authority by delegating the ministerial tasks of overseeing reunification services to SARMS. The court maintained proper supervision over the plan and ultimately determined father’s compliance with its requirements. Finally, appellant’s counsel was not ineffective for failing to request a continuance of the contempt proceeding and file a section 388 petition to terminate him from SARMS. Even a successful section 388 petition would not have avoided the outcome of the contempt hearing which concerned prior violations, and therefore there was no prejudice to appellant.