California Supreme Court Watch

May 26, 2021
In re D.P., S267429.

#21-251 In re D.P., S267429. (B301135; nonpublished opinion; Los Angeles County Superior Court; 19CCJP00973). Petition for review after the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal in a juvenile dependency proceeding. The court ordered the parties to brief and argue the following issues: (1) Is an appeal of a juvenile court’s jurisdictional finding moot when a parent asserts that he or she has been or will be stigmatized by the finding? (2) Is an appeal of a juvenile court’s jurisdictional finding moot when a parent asserts that he or she may be barred from challenging a current or future placement on the Child Abuse Central Index as a result of the finding?

This case includes the following issue: Was the appeal from the order sustaining jurisdiction under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivision (b), moot when jurisdiction had been terminated in the interim, even though the child’s parents might be registered on the Child Abuse Central Index?

Petition for review granted: 5/26/2021

Opinion filed; judgment reversed: 1/19/2023

See the Court of Appeal Opinion.

See the Petition for Review.

See the Oral Argument.

See the California Supreme Court Opinion.  (In re D.P. (2023) 14 Cal.5th 266.)

“The court found that it had jurisdiction over D.P. under Welfare and Institutions Code former section 300, subdivision (b)(1) ….  D.P.’s parents challenged this jurisdictional finding on appeal.  While the appeal was pending, the juvenile court terminated its jurisdiction, finding that the parents had complied with their case plan and D.P. was no longer at risk.  In response, the Court of Appeal dismissed the parents’ case, reasoning that because the juvenile court’s jurisdiction had terminated, the case was moot.”

“We conclude that Father’s appeal is moot because Father, though asserting that the juvenile court’s jurisdictional finding is stigmatizing, has not demonstrated a specific legal or practical consequence that would be avoided upon reversal of the jurisdictional findings.  We further hold that the Court of Appeal has discretion to review Father’s case even though it is moot.  The Court of Appeal erred in reasoning that ‘[t]he party seeking such discretionary review . . . must demonstrate the specific legal or practical negative consequences that will result from the jurisdictional findings they seek to reverse.’  (In re D.P. (Feb. 10, 2021, B301135) [nonpub. opn.].)  We reverse the Court of Appeal’s judgment dismissing the appeal and remand for the court to reconsider Father’s argument for discretionary review.”