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Name: In re Roberto C.
Case #: B238820
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 10/09/2012

The juvenile court did not err in determining that DCFS failed to meet its burden of proof and dismissing a dependency petition alleging abuse. The infant minor fell unconscious while in the care of a babysitter. While he was hospitalized with serious injuries, DCFS filed a petition to remove him from his parents. The petition alleged that the minor had suffered a brain bleed due to possible nonaccidental trauma. At a hearing on the petition, DCFS did not put on evidence as to who caused the minor’s injuries. Following the hearing, parents moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that DCFS failed to either show that the parents inflicted the injury or should have known of it. The juvenile court granted the dismissal of the petition. The appellate court affirmed. Although there was evidence that the minor’s injuries were caused by nonaccidental trauma, there was no evidence that the parents either inflicted the injuries or knew about any abuse, therefore, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the petition. Further, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the main witness, Dr. Stewart, as an expert on shaken baby syndrome, while permitting her to testify as an expert in child abuse. The record shows that Dr. Stewart was permitted to express a broad range of opinions, including her opinions on causation, and her ability to place her opinions before the court was not limited.