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Name: J.H. v. Superior Court
Case #: B284802
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 02/15/2018
Summary

Sanchez” limits on expert opinion testimony do not render social workers’ reports inadmissible in dependency cases. At a status review hearing, the court permitted over objection the testimony of the supervisor of the writer of the social report. She testified there was not a substantial probability that the minors would be returned to father within the next six months. The court found that People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 did not apply, terminated reunification services, and set the matter for a 366.26 hearing. Father petitioned for writ review, contending the court erred when it considered the social services report in the absence of its primary author and thus prevented cross-examination of her at the 12-month review hearing. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that the holding in Sanchez does not extend to dependency proceedings. The admissibility of the report was proper under WIC section 358, regardless of the author’s availability for cross-examination. A confrontation clause violation is not applicable in a dependency proceeding because a parent in a dependency proceeding is not similarly situated to the accused in a criminal proceeding. Further, the court’s findings were substantially supported by the evidence.