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Name: Mardardo F. v. Superior Court
Case #: C058569
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/30/2008

A father who previously murdered a child was properly denied reunification services. The trial court denied reunification services under section 361.5, subdivision (b)(4) to the 28-year-old father who, when he was 15, murdered a 13-year-old girl. Section 361.5, subdivision (b)(4) states that reunification services need not be provided where the parent of the child has caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect. In his petition for writ of mandate, the father interpreted this phrase as meaning that the person who has caused the death of another child must have been a parent at the time of the death. The appellate court disagreed and denied the writ. The juvenile court properly applied the statute. The phrase “parent or guardian of the child” merely refers to the parent’s status in the current dependency proceeding, and the phrase “the death of another child” refers to the death of any child. Further, the father did not meet his burden of showing that reunification was in the child’s best interests. He committed a brutal rape-murder of a child when he was 15 years old. He was discharged from CYA ten years later and had committed two subsequent offenses as well as been involved in two episodes of domestic violence.