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Name: In re Raymond E.
Case #: C039302
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/10/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 6/12/02

Four-year-old Raymond and his 11 year-old-brother were removed from their parents' home and placed in separate foster homes, though arrangements were made for visits between them. The effect of Raymond's bond with his brother on adoption was not raised in the trial court at the parental termination hearing on August 31, 2001. Effective January 1, 2002, the Legislature amended Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26, subdivision (c)(1) to provide an additional exception to the termination of parental rights where "there would be substantial interference with a child's sibling relationship . . . and . . . ongoing…

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Name: In re Jesusa V.
Case #: B151885
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 04/16/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. GRANTED 8/14/02: S106843

Editor's note: Review has been GRANTED on this case. Jesusa came to the attention of authorities when her father so abused her mother that her mother was hospitalized. The trial court awarded presumed father status under Family Code section 7611 to her stepfather, the mother's husband, and declared the minor a dependent child under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivisions (a) and (b) based on the mother's failure to protect her from violent episodes and appellant's inability to care for her because of his alcoholism. Both appellant and the minor child's mother's husband, Paul B., qualified as presumed…

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Name: In re Heather B.
Case #: F038781
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/02/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 6/26/02

The father of minor children urged the Court of Appeal to reverse an order terminating his parental rights, not on trial court error at the Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26 hearing, but on subsequent events – the termination of an adoptive placement. The Court of Appeal affirmed the order terminating parental rights, concluding that Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26 forbids alteration or revocation of an order terminating parental rights except by direct appeal from that order. In re Elise K. (1982) 33 Cal.3d 138 did not support father's argument because in Elise K. the parties stipulated…

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Name: In re Angela C.
Case #: F039609
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/14/2002
Subsequent History: None

Appellant received notice of the termination hearing under Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26. At that hearing the court continued the matter because problems arose in giving notice to an alleged father. Appellant did not appear at the hearing and did not receive notice of the continued termination hearing. Appellant's parental rights were terminated at the continued hearing. She appealed the order terminating her parental rights on grounds she received no notice of the continued hearing and asserting she was entitled to per se reversal. The Court of Appeal held that although appellant was entitled…

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Name: In re Jesse W.
Case #: A094156
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/29/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 1/23/02.

Father appealed from a final order vacating dependency of the minor children and appointing guardians. Father claimed that the order was void because of a procedural error committed 18 months earlier, when a referee’s dispositional order on a supplemental 387 petition was not countersigned by a judge as required by section 249. The appellate court here affirmed. Father’s challenge to the removal order was barred by the waiver rule. His failure to make the challenge on direct appeal in June of 1999 forecloses raising it on appeal from a 366.26 order held over 18 months…

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Name: In re Angel W.
Case #: C037895
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/16/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 1/29/02.

The trial court erred when it refused appellant’s request to represent herself in a parental rights termination proceeding. That there is no constitutional right to self-representation in a dependency proceeding does not mean there is no such right. There is a statutory right in a proceeding to terminate parental rights, and error in denying this right should be analyzed under ordinary principles of harmless error as set forth in People v. Watson (1956) 46 Cal. 2d 818. Here, appellant was denied her right to self-representation because she was too upset for the court to take a waiver.…

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Name: In re Jessica G.
Case #: B149294
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/20/2001
Subsequent History: Rehg. denied 12/19/01. Opinion modified; modification changed judgment.

Here, the Second DCA followed the recent decision by the Fifth DCA in In re Sara D. (2001) 87 Cal. App. 4th 661, when it concluded that appellant mother’s due process rights were violated by the trial court’s appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL). Here the GAL was appointed on the date first noticed for the 366.26 hearing. Nothing in the record suggests that anyone explained to mother what a GAL was, and what the appointment would mean to her. The court made no inquiry regarding mother’s competence. Mother’s testimony showed emotional difficulties, but no…

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Name: In re Harry N.
Case #: B145977
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/28/2001
Subsequent History: None

The minor was removed from his biological mother at birth, and placed with a foster family who wished to adopt him. The minor’s paternal aunt and uncle, who lived in Puerto Rico, also wished to adopt him. The Department wanted placement with the aunt and uncle, whose social study had been delayed due to their residence outside California. The minor, who had lived with the foster family for a year by the time of the 366.26 hearing, was bonded to that family. The Court ordered that the minor was to remain with the foster family and…

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Name: In re Zeth S.
Case #: G027568
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/22/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 10/10/01 as S099557

Editor's Note: Review granted on this case. At a Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26 hearing, minor's counsel "led the charge" against the mother, and advocated strongly for adoption. Parental rights were terminated and this appeal followed. On appeal, minor's appellate counsel took an entirely different position and informed the court that the grandfather had been pressured into agreeing to adopt when he preferred legal guardianship, and demonstrated that there was a very strong bond between the minor and his mother, who continued to assume the primary parental responsibilities at the grandfather's house. The appellate court reversed and remanded for…

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Name: In re Carrie M.
Case #: B146015
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 07/06/2001
Subsequent History: None

A parent in a dependency case is entitled to raise a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with a parental rights termination order by habeas corpus petition filed concurrently with an appeal from the termination order. A petition for writ of habeas corpus in a dependency matter raising ineffective assistance of counsel does not lie from a final order, but an order is only final when the time for appeal has expired and no timely appeal has been filed, or the order has been appealed and affirmed. It is appropriate to raise the issue by petition for writ…

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