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Name: In re P.C.
Case #: D046406
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/03/2006

In an appeal from parental rights termination, parents contended that the paternal grandfather was unwilling to adopt the children and the court should have applied section 366.26, subdivision (c)(1)(D) to preclude termination of their parental rights. They also argued that section 366.26 (c)(1)(D) is unconstitutionally vague because the term “exceptional circumstances” is not defined. The appellate court disagreed and affirmed. First, the appeal was timely filed. Second, the issue of the constitutionality of section 366.26 (c)(1)(D) is not forfeited by not raising the issue at trial. However, the issue need not be addressed because the inapplicability of section 366.26, subdivision (c)(1)(D) resolves the issue. There was substantial evidence to support the court’s finding that the grandfather was willing to adopt the children. Grandfather’s expressed reservations about adoption were based on a lack of awareness concerning the extent of substance abuse of the parents, and a belief that the parents would one day be able to raise the children. The record supports an inference that had the grandfather been fully apprised, he would not hesitate to adopt the minors.